Sarkozy says G-8 sees rift with Russia over Libya, Syria

DEAUVILLE, France — France says Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi must leave power now and Britain calls him an appalling dictator, but Russia says NATO has gone too far in its bombing campaign against Gadhafi’s forces.

From left

From left

DEAUVILLE, France — France says Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi must leave power now and Britain calls him an appalling dictator, but Russia says NATO has gone too far in its bombing campaign against Gadhafi’s forces.

Escalating violence in Libya worried a gathering of rich world leaders as much or more than their own debts and joblessness, but they could not agree Thursday on how to punish Libya’s leader or restore peace, highlighting the difficulty in making sure Arab uprisings have peaceful endings.

In a possible bid to soften Russian resistance to the NATO-led airstrikes, leaders of the Group of Eight nations asked Moscow to act as a “mediator” with Libya, according to President Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman. Natalya Timakova did not elaborate on what kind of role that could be, in comments carried on Russian news agencies.

President Barack Obama “is leading that initiative to work with the Russians” on Libya, said Michael McFaul, Russia adviser at the National Security Council. Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters in Deauville, “Russia has relations, not just in Libya but across most of North Africa. … We can benefit from those types of consultations and contacts with them.”

Medvedev met with Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the Normandy resort of Deauville in a G-8 summit dominated by talk of upheaval in the Arab world. That overshadowed concerns about deficits and joblessness in the Group of Eight nations: the United States, France, Britain, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada.

At talks Friday, G-8 leaders plan to marshal their combined economic might behind the grass-roots democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia, which overthrew autocrats but also scared off tourists and investors and threaten economic growth.

U.S. and other officials say it’s too soon to reach a deal on dollar amounts for assistance to the Arab world.

But France offered Egypt up to $250 million a year in development aid, the prime minister said Thursday. And Britain pledged to expand its aid to the Middle East and North Africa to 110 million pounds, in an apparent effort to pressure G-8 partners into coughing up money, too.

“We’re demonstrating that there is a chance for people in North Africa to choose their own future and their own freedom rather than have to put up with appalling dictators like Gadhafi,” Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters.

The International Monetary Fund is ready to loan up to $35 billion to oil-importing countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as part of its pledge to help the region meet goals on growth, stability, job creation and improving living standards.

The figure, included in a report on the region prepared for the G8 summit, says that the overall need in terms of external financing by Tunisia, Egypt and other non-oil producing countries in the region could be more than $160 billion over the 2011-2013 period.

Bloodshed in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain is a more immediate concern for the G-8 leaders.

Sarkozy admitted that the international military operation in Libya has posed problems, but he insisted that it was necessary to protect civilians and encourage democratic movements throughout the Arab world.

“I’m not saying the intervention we have made … hasn’t posed problems. It’s not an easy decision to commit soldiers,” he said. He said Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi “has to leave power.”

Sarkozy said “there is a big convergence of views with Russia.”

Russia’s ambassador to France, Alexander Orlov, told The Associated Press that the NATO campaign has gone too far. As a result, he said, Russia feels “burned” and doesn’t want to support a U.N. resolution warning Syria about its crackdown on anti-government protesters.

“We will be very careful,” he said in an interview at Deauville. European nations have circulated a draft resolution at the U.N. Security Council targeting Syria, diplomats said.

A draft declaration under discussion at the summit urges Libya and Syria to halt violence but contains no specific sanctions against Libya and Syria, according to two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the document is still under discussion.

Concerns about Europe’s debt crises fueled discussions on the sidelines about who should take over as head of the International Monetary Fund, which loans billions of dollars to the world economy and has been instrumental in shoring up the euro currency. Europeans have rallied around French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, but the United States and China have yet to endorse a candidate, and developing countries want to see one of their own in the job.

Google’s Eric Schmidt, at the G-8 summit for a special session on the future of the Internet along with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, noted the important role that online freedom of expression and activism played in the Arab world revolts.

“The Internet clearly helped people who were willing to risk their lives to move their countries to a more democratic process. I think in a small way, we all helped — and were happy to have helped — them achieve a much better outcome,” he told reporters in Deauville.

In a joint statement released Thursday, the G-8 leaders called for improved enforcement to protect intellectual property online.

Heavy security in Deauville and elsewhere in France has so far deterred the kind of mass demonstrations that have disrupted G-8 summits in the past. Paris police stopped one of several protests planned in Paris against the summit, detaining about 50 demonstrators on Thursday.

———

Jamey Keaten, Greg Keller and Julie Pace contributed to this report.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House sales remain hot in central Alberta with first-quarter sales nearly double last year’s numbers. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Central Alberta real estate market hot in 2021

Residential sales nearly double 2020 in first quarter

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer gave an update on Olymel's COVID-19 situation on Wednesday. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Veer addresses rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

Red Deer has added nearly 200 cases of active COVID-19 cases in past week

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RCMP investigate culturally insensitive graffiti at Sylvan Lake school

Sylvan Lake RCMP is investigating a vandalism incident. On April 17 around… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Tanner Pearson, right, celebrates after scoring against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie David Rittich during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Pearson, Sutter each score twice as Canucks dump Leafs 6-3

Pearson, Sutter each score twice as Canucks dump Leafs 6-3

Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Peter Powell/Pool via AP)
Super League collapses after the 6 English clubs withdraw

Super League collapses after the 6 English clubs withdraw

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez delivers against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Bogaerts’ 3-run HR, Rodriguez lift BoSox over Blue Jays 4-2

Bogaerts’ 3-run HR, Rodriguez lift BoSox over Blue Jays 4-2

Pound says Olympic qualifying issues a concern to IOC

Pound says Olympic qualifying issues a concern to IOC

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Ontario Hockey League cancels 2020-21 season as COVID-19 cases surge in province

Ontario Hockey League cancels 2020-21 season as COVID-19 cases surge in province

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: Veterans Affairs submits internal review after initial refusal

Desmond inquiry: Veterans Affairs submits internal review after initial refusal

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo State representatives gather at the Capitol, in Phoenix. Two years after Arizona lawmakers repealed a law barring any instruction on HIV or AIDS that that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle," they are close to enacting a broad remake of the state's sex education laws with a particular focus on LGBTQ issues. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)
Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Most Read