G8 summit tries to avoid self-indulgence

09:59, May 29, 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)

The Group of Eight (G8) summit devoted much to unrest in West Asia and North Africa and the Middle East peace process, and deliberately less to the global economy, perhaps conscious of its declining sway.

The G8 summit in the French resort of Deauville sends a signal that with the ever shifting international political and economic landscape and the rise of emerging economies, the world's eight powers can no longer dominate world affairs. Accordingly, their leaders tried to avoid self-indulgence at the summit.


During the two-day meeting which ended Friday, the G8 leaders focused much on the political changes in the Middle East and North Africa.

"In light of the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, and in sub-Sahara Africa, we renewed our commitment to support democratic reform around the world and to respond to the aspirations for freedom," they said in a declaration.

As part of the "Deauville Partnership" with Arab nations, they pledged billions of dollars to foster Western-style democracy in the region and to support those countries engaged in a transition to democracy and tolerant societies.

While throwing out carrots, the G8 countries also showed their sticks. They issued an unequivocal demand for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to leave power and for Syria to immediately stop using violence against protesters.

The G8 consists of the world's most industrialized powers -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia. As a club of major global powers, the G8, and previously, the G7, had dominated global affairs.

Although the eight countries have not entirely given up their ambition to seek dominance in world affairs, the rise of emerging economies has made G8 leaders aware that they should not be excessively self-indulgent at the summit.

There are serious doubts about the effectiveness of their carrot-and-stick policy in Arab countries.

Analysts familiar with Africa say, the democracy and freedom underlined in the declaration is a clear reminder of the democratization wave that swept Africa in the 1990s.

At that time, Western countries imposed the multiparty system across the continent, which finally led to serious recession in Africa, and even conflicts in some countries. The economic structural adjustments pushed through by the World Bank then also made African countries pay a price.

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Source: Xinhua
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