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G8 foreign ministers to focus on Japan, Libya at Paris meeting

03-15-2011 08:05 BJT

PARIS, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Foreign Ministers of the Group of Eight (G8) meeting here on Monday and Tuesday will focus on the unexpected disaster that hit Japan, the only Asian member in the group, and the political situation in North Africa, especially in Libya.

Hours before French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe is to host his counterparts from the United States, Canada, Germany, Britain, Italy, Russia and Japan at the Elysee Palace, an updated press handout put talks about the natural catastrophe shaking Japan on top of the agenda.

"Japanese Minister Takeaki Matsumaoto will help the state members of the G8 to better define their actions not only in short- term, but also in medium and long term to help Japan overcome this ordeal," the press briefing said.

Japan's Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, who assumed office not long before the earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale struck, will have a bilateral meeting on Tuesday afternoon with Juppe, who has pledged aid to the Japanese, including nuclear expertise and rescue team.

There will be a press conference given by the Japanese minister scheduled to start at 16:00 (GMT 1500) Tuesday, the Japanese delegation told Xinhua.

On the third day after the devastating earthquake, reports said Japan was likely to record an estimated toll of more than 10,000 people, besides the mounting threat from damaged nuclear plants.

The only Asian member in G8 has received immediate sympathy and solidarity from the international community after the quake took place on Friday.

The G8 meeting will also discuss the political crisis in North African countries, which was highlighted by the violent battle between forces loyal to Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi and less- equipped rebels fighting for his ouster.

"The meeting comes at a time marked by historic change in the Arab world," so that a large majority of exchanges will be devoted to the situation in the countries of North Africa and Middle East, particularly the dramatic situation in Libya, the French foreign ministry said in a statement issued on March 11.

Besides the above concerns, the ministers are also expected to talk over other key issues, such as the Middle East peace process, international terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation, according to the French foreign ministry.

The two-day event is to begin informally with the eight ministers meeting President Nicolas Sarkozy at his Elysee Palace on Monday night before officially kicking off at 20:00 (1900 GMT), and ending the following day around 15:00 (1400 GMT).

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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