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G8 unified on approach to Iran, claims Obama

May 19, 2012 23:12 IST

The G-8 leaders are united on their current approach of sanctions, pressure and diplomatic discussions with Iran over its nuclear programme, United States President Barack Obama said on Saturday.

"We are unified on our approach to Iran," Obama said on Saturday, before the G-8 leaders at the presidential retreat started their series of meetings. G-8, as it is called, is the exclusive group of top eight economic nations of the world powers.

It is up of the leaders of the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Russia.

On the discussions the G-8 leaders had at the dinner on Friday night, Obama said they all agreed that Iran has the right to a peaceful nuclear programme but the weaponisation of a nuclear power is unacceptable.

"We are hopeful about the discussions that will be taking [place] in Baghdad, but all of us are firmly committed to continuing with the approach of sanctions and pressure, in combination with diplomatic discussions," the US President said.

"And our hope is that we can resolve this issue in a peaceful fashion that respects Iran's sovereignty and its rights in the international community, but also recognises its responsibilities," Obama said.

On Syria, Obama said they all believe that a peaceful resolution and political transition in Syria is preferable, and added that the G-8 leaders are all concerned about the violence taking place there.

Supportive of Kofi Annan's plan, Obama said that while this will be reflected in the G8 communique, they believe that the Annan plan "has to be fully implemented and a political process has to move forward in a more timely fashion."

G-8 nations agreed that North Korea is violating its international obligations and there's a path for them to rejoin the international community, Obama said.

Referring to their discussions on Myanmar, Obama said G-8 leaders "are hopeful" about the developments there.

"Our hope is that this process will continue and we are going to do everything we can to encourage that process," he said.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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