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G8 statement on Syria's crisis "brings nothing new": analysts


07:45, June 19, 2013

DAMASCUS, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Syrian analysts said that the G8 leaders brought "nothing new" on the Syrian issue during their two- day summit at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

After their summit, the G8 countries stressed their commitment to achieve a political solution to Syria's long-standing crisis but didn't call for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as precondition to political dialogue in their final statement on Tuesday.

They urged both the Syrian government and opposition forces to engage "seriously and constructively" at the proposed Geneva conference likely to be held in July.

"Both sides at the conference must engage seriously and constructively," they said, adding that "We will engage actively with the parties in order to achieve successful outcome."

The G8 leaders also said that they are deeply concerned by the growing threat from terrorism and extremism in Syria and the growing sectarian nature of the conflict.

They also condemned any use of chemical weapons in war-ravaged country, calling on all parties in the conflict to allow access to the UN investigating team.

Meanwhile, the superpower pledged an additional 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to meet humanitarian needs in Syria and its neighbors.

Salim Harba, a retired General and political researcher, told Xinhua that the statement of the G8 summit "brought nothing new." He, however, noted that "the new thing in the meeting is the solid, strategic stance of Russia."

Harba's remarks came amid reports that Russia's President Vladimir Putin kept his fellow leaders from placing the departure of Assad as a pre-condition to the planned Geneva conference even though Western powers, which support the opposition, repeatedly slammed the possibility of any role to Assad after the Geneva conference.

Harba said that G8 summit would hasten holding the Geneva conference.

For his side, Rajaa al-Nasser, a leading opposition figure at the National Coordination Body, also agreed that the summit brought nothing new "and can't be relied on because it didn't achieve serious consensus" between Moscow and Washington.

The summit also lacked "strong and hopeful" stances toward politically solving the crisis, al-Nasser said, adding that the final communique was full of "generalities."

The summit took place a week after the United States declared it was ready to arm the rebels in Syria, a move that was totally rejected by Moscow.

Speaking on the eve of the G8 summit at a joint press conference with Britain's David Cameron, Putin said that he would not rule out sending fresh arms shipments to the embattled Syrian government in retaliation to Washington's move.

Despite consensus over the need for a political solution in Syria, Washington and Moscow seem to still have a lot of ice to be broken before reaching a full consensus regarding the Syrian crisis, analysts said.

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