Japan to be at G8 meeting despite crisis

March 14, 2011 at 3:00 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

PARIS, March 14 (UPI) -- Japan will join a G8 meeting in Paris, despite a nuclear crisis and mounting death toll at home after a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, an official said.

Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, just appointed to the post Wednesday -- two days before Japan's massive magnitude 9.0-magnitude quake, which also left thousands homeless and millions without water, power, heat or transportation -- is expected to arrive Monday to join his Group of Eight counterparts from the United States, Russia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, the Japanese Embassy in Paris said Sunday.

The two-day ministerial meeting, planned before the quake, is expected to focus on Japan's rapidly unfolding disaster and how to coordinate rescue and aid efforts, officials said.

The ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are also expected to discuss the escalating bloodshed in Libya two days after the 22-nation League of Arab States said it wanted the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, the officials said.

The Arab League agreement gives the United States and other Western powers regional backing to impose such a zone to prevent the Libyan army from launching air attacks on civilians, officials said. Britain and France have a draft resolution prepared for the Security Council to enforce a no-fly zone, the Financial Times reported.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country hosts the G8 this year, Thursday unilaterally recognized Libya's National Transitional Council, an interim rebel body formed Feb. 27, as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people and proposed targeted airstrikes against Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

That put France at odds with other European countries seeking ways of supporting the rebels in their goal of toppling Gadhafi.

European Union countries normally recognize states, not governments, The New York Times said. But the European Parliament also advocated recognizing the rebel leadership group in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the provisional capital of the transitional council's interim pro-democracy government.

France, which leads the G8 agenda this year, also set itself apart from some other nations, including the United States, by insisting any U.N.-sanctioned military support for the rebels not be carried out by NATO since the alliance has an aggressive image in the Arab world, the Times said. Washington favors using NATO.

The United States will host the G8 next year and U.S. President Obama will be its president.

While in Paris, Clinton plans to meet with transitional council representatives Mahmoud Jibril and Ali al-Esawi, the State Department said. Sarkozy met with the insurgent leaders Thursday before announcing France recognized the council as the Libyan people's sole legitimate representative.

Libya said in response it would break diplomatic ties with France.

The foreign ministers are to begin Monday with a meeting with Sarkozy and a working dinner, followed by a full day of talks Tuesday.

A full summit of G8 countries' presidents and prime ministers is set for May 26-27 in the wealthy northwestern French resort city of Deauville.

Topics there are tentatively to include Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa, new Internet challenges, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, G8 partnerships with Africa, trans-Atlantic cocaine trafficking, counterterrorism and G8 political and security issues, an early French draft of summit priorities indicated.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories