The Group of Eight (G8) is a forum for the governments of eight of the world’s eleven largest national economies. It is presently held at the Lough Erne resort in Northern Ireland and is being hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron. The leaders of United States, Japan, Canada, Russia, Germany, France and Italy are in attendance. Not included are the leaders of China, Brazil and India.
While they may be discussing the world’s economy, of which the G8 countries account for 50 percent of the output, on the sideline, however, the civil war in Syria is one hot topic to be discussed and resolved.
But, as it appears, it is very unlikely that the leaders will go home with the conflict resolved, much less a compromise being reached just so the destruction, killings and influx of refugees out of Syria will stop.
What is more likely to happen is that the war will worsen, even as the US and Russia share interest in stopping the violence and atrocities committed, now with use of chemical weapons.
With Russia having Syria as its closest Middle Eastern ally and a trusted friend in President Bashar al-Assad, there is no way Russian President Vladimir Putin would allow the Western powers, led by President Barack Obama, to have Syria’s leader taken out of the equation in resolving the crisis.
Even before the summit started one could already deduce what the outcome would be with regards to Syria.
During talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London on the eve of the summit, Putin renewed his criticism of the West’s position in startling tones, describing Assad’s foes as cannibals.
“I think you will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines, in front of the public and cameras,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Cameron.
“Are these the people you want to support? Is it them who you want to supply with weapons?”
This had reference to the US decision to send weapons to the rebels, saying Assad’s forces had crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons.
For sure, Putin wants to achieve a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, but not at the expense of the despot Assad to whom Russia has been sending weapons, including the planned shipment of the advanced S-300 air defense system, which will be a potential deterrent to any enforced no-fly zone thought of over Syria in the future.
Peace is, has been, and will continue to be elusive in Syria. And for as long as Assad continues to be in power there will be no meeting of the minds between the Russian leader and the rest of the G8 leaders.