18 Jun 2013

Is Cameron’s G8 summit in deep water?

The PM took a dip in the lough this morning. He’s a huge fan of bracing water. But is his G8 summit in deep water too?
Word is seeping out from delegations that there’s “isn’t much” on Syria.

The G8 lead officials for each country, known as sherpas, have been working late last night and early this morning to cobble together a form of words that everyone round the table here can agree on about Syria. Last night, the meeting between Presidents Obama and Putin lasted two hours (though it wasn’t all about Syria).

Afterwards, the White House spokesman repeated the US requirement: “Assad would need to go as a part of (the) process.” Everyone in the G8 room but Russia would like the G8 to sign up to “transition”, but Russia isn’t keen on anything that signs Assad’s political death warrant. We’ll see what they come up with mid-afternoon.

There will be a declaration on company ownership transparency, too. Oxford Professor Paul Collier told a press briefing this morning that he thought the government’s work pushing this ( in some way “his”) agenda was “heroic”.

The NGOs will cast their eyes over the text later. They tend to be supportive of all steps in the right direction and not too carping – it’s their tactical approach and they think it has reaped dividends in the past. So far, one said, it loooks like “seven out of 10”.

As the cameras were allowed into the round the table photo opportunity of G8 leaders (plus the two EU presidents), it was clear they’d all just been warned to cover up their work. EU President Barroso turns over his iPad.

President Obama then tells fellow leaders about the occasion when he wasa senator, listening to the man who’s now his vice-president, Joe Biden. He said someone filmed a note he’d written to his chief of staff saying: “This is going on forever – shoot me now.”

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