Paris, March 14 (DPA) The foreign ministers of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialized countries were expected in Paris Monday for talks on how to topple Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and coordinate aid to quake-hit Japan.
Two days of talks between the top diplomats of the US, Britain, France, Russia, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan, as well as the European Union’s diplomacy chief Catherine Ashton, will kick off with a meeting Monday evening with President Nicolas Sarkozy, followed by a working dinner. A full day of talks has been set aside for Tuesday.
France, which holds the year-long rotating presidency of the G8, aims to use the meeting to push for quick action on Libya, where government troops are advancing on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, one of the few towns still in the hands of the opposition.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was to give the rebels a boost by meeting an envoy from the Benghazi-based Provisional Transitional National Council in Paris Monday.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Sunday France would “accelerate its efforts” to protect civilians after the Arab League Saturday backed Franco-British calls for a UN no-fly zone over Libya.
Germany, Russia and China, however, are particularly reserved about the prospect of a military intervention.
The G8 meeting is also expected to focus on the fallout of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Japan’s foreign minister, Takeaki Matsumoto, just appointed to the post last week, was expected to attend the meeting, which comes as Japan grapples with the risk of a nuclear meltdown following two blasts at two nuclear reactors at Fukushima since Saturday.