G8 agrees plan to promote Syrian peace talks; requires al-Qaida-linked fighters to exit fight

ENNISKILLEN – The leaders of major industrial nations including the U.S. and Russia say they are united in wanting a negotiated and peaceful end to the Syrian civil war that will produce a government “under a top leadership that inspires public confidence.”

The declaration at the end of the two-day Group of Eight summit Tuesday seeks to narrow the ground between Russia and Western leaders on starting peace talks in Geneva that could end with the ouster of Bashar Assad from power.

Russia refused to back a declaration that made such a goal explicit.

Tuesday’s G-8 declaration says participants in any peace talks must agree to expel al-Qaida-linked fighters from Syria. It also commits a further $1.5 billion in aid for Syrian refugees. It condemns human rights abuses committed by government forces and rebels alike.

He said a new probe involving an international chemical weapons watchdog and the World Health Organization should be assigned to investigate the validity of such claims.

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He said Syria should join an international treaty banning chemical weapons and destroy its arsenal of such weapons.