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G8 ministers fail to agree on Syria; no plan on North Korea

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Foreign ministers from the G8 group of rich countries failed to patch up deep divisions over Syria or come up with a concrete plan on North Korea during a meeting in London on Thursday, reported Reuters.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, speaking after talks with his counterparts, admitted the world had done too little to try to resolve Syria's two-year-old conflict, in which an estimated 70,000 people have been killed.

"The United Nations Security Council has not fulfilled its responsibilities because it is divided. That division continues. Have we solved that division at this meeting? No. We didn't expect to do so," Hague told reporters.

"The world has failed so far in its responsibilities and continues to do so."

North Korea's threats of war and Iran's nuclear program were also high on the agenda of the ministers' talks in London but little substance came out of their private meetings with members of Syria's opposition on the sidelines of the gathering.

Actress Angelina Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, addressed the ministers, urging more action to prevent sexual violence against women in conflict zones.

On North Korea, the G8 condemned Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons "in the strongest possible terms" but announced no specific steps.

In a communiqué issued after the meeting, foreign ministers from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia urged North Korea to "refrain from further provocative acts".

"If the DPRK (North Korea) conducts another missile launch, or nuclear test, we have committed ourselves to take further significant measures," Hague said, without giving more details.

A U.S. official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the ministers had discussed the role of China - which is not part of the G8 - in addressing North Korea's threats, but that nothing specific had come out of the talks.

Central Asian News Services

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130412/g8-ministers-fail-agree-syria-no-plan-north-korea