G8 commits to supporting Arabs, 40 bln USD for Tunisia, Egypt

10:46, May 28, 2011      

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends a press conference during the G8 summit, in Deauville, northwestern France, on May 27, 2011. The leaders of the world's richest countries wrapped up a two-day summit here on Friday, pledging billions of dollars in a new partnership with the Arab world to promote desired change in the region. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a 40-billion-U.S.-dollar aid package for Egypt and Tunisia at the end of the G8 summit on Friday as the club of economic powers joined a race against time to shore up the gains of the Arab changes.

In a declaration after the summit, the leaders voiced their support to the Arab world, "We hear the voices of the citizens, support their determination for equality and stand by their legitimate call for democratic, open societies."

The leaders also increased the heat on Arab leaders resisting protests from the street. They issued a unequivocal demand for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to leave power and told Syria it must stop using violence against protesters or face additional international sanctions. "He (Gaddafi) has no future in a free, democratic Libya," the statement said. "He must go."

Sarkozy and U.S. President Barack Obama said NATO's bombing campaign would be intensified in necessary to ensure Gaddafi's removal and Russia signed up to the G8 statement despite its previous strongly voiced concerns over the Western alliance's NATO's efforts topple the Libyan leader.

The summit host brushed aside talk of a Russian drive to find a negotiated settlement between the Libyan leader and Western powers.

"There is no mediation possible with Mr. Gaddafi," Sarkozy told a news conference. "Mr. Gaddafi must go. What we can discuss are the modalities of his departure."

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