Leaders from the Group of Eight nations are calling for a negotiated end to the civil war in Syria, but stopped short of demanding the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The G8 leaders ended their two-day summit at the Lough Erne resort in Northern Ireland by saying peace talks should take place as soon as possible. They said the result should be a Syrian government led by “top leadership that inspires public confidence.”
Western leaders, including President Barack Obama, have called for the end to Assad’s regime. But Russian President Vladimir Putin, a Syrian ally, refused to make that a specific goal.
Cameron outlines details
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who hosted the summit, met with reporters following the summit to review the declaration signed by all member nations.
“It is no secret that there were very different views around the G8 table,” Cameron said. “But we all share a vital interest in bringing this conflict to an end and bringing the Syrian people the change they want.”
The summit nation’s pledged nearly $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid, to maximize diplomatic pressure on both sides to begin peace talks as soon as possible, and to work together to rid Syria of terrorist groups among other commitments.
Cameron also outlined a part of the declaration that would strengthen nation’s abilities to collect taxes by ending corporate secrecy and aggressive tax evasion. It also sets out some clear commitments.
“Tax authorities across the world should automatically share information so those who want to evade taxes have nowhere to hide,” Cameron said. “Companies should know who really owns them. And tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to obtain this information easily — for example, through central registries — so people cannot avoid taxes through complicated and fake structures.”
The G8 leaders also agreed to stop paying ransoms to terrorists holding hostages. Hostage-taking has increased in West Africa, especially in Nigeria, where Western oil companies have prominent operations.
The G8 countries account for 50 percent of the world’s economic output. But they still are struggling to emerge from the depths of the global recession of 2008 and 2009.