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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 07:16 GMT 08:16 UK
G8 renews pledge to fight terrorism
Foreign ministers of the G8 countries during the talks in Whistler, Canada
The G8 "came close" to an agreed definition of terrorism
Foreign ministers from the G8 group of leading industrial nations have agreed to strengthen co-operation to fight terrorism, in what is being seen as a push by the United States to rally support among its closest allies.


Further action is required from all nations - individually and collectively - to sustain a truly effective global offensive against terrorism

G8 statement
"I'm quite pleased at the seriousness with which my G8 colleagues continue to take the campaign against terrorism - the coalition remains united, " US Secretary of State Colin Powell said at a two-day meeting at the Canadian ski resort of Whistler.

The ministers also pledged to help smaller countries in the anti-terrorism campaign.

"Further action is required from all nations - individually and collectively - to sustain a truly effective global offensive against terrorism," the ministers said in a statement.

Reporting from Whistler, the BBC's Jon Leyne says this could include anything from training airport security staff to help redrafting laws.

He says the ministers also apparently came close to an agreed definition of terrorism - something which has eluded the international community for many decades.

The talks - the first major meeting of G8 ministers since the attacks on the US last September - are part of preparations for a G8 summit due to take place later this month in another Canadian resort.

Diplomatic push

The ministers gave themselves a glowing report card on what had been achieved so far in their combined efforts to fight global terrorism.

G8 protester in Whistler
Very few protesters have gathered at the meeting

"Our goal is to ensure that terrorists attacks like the one on the 11 September will never happen again," the report said.

The ministers praised as a very positive sign the recent steps by India to reduce the tension in its confrontation with Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir.

But they are keeping pressure on both countries, saying there could be no repeat of the stand-off, even as the tensions appear to ease.

"There was absolute agreement that we don't want to go through this again," Mr Powell said.

The host of the meeting, Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham, may be sent to the region immediately following the meetings as a show of the G8's concern over Kashmir.

The Middle East conflict is also high on the agenda, but correspondents say Canadian officials are playing down expectations of concrete action from the G8, suggesting the US has little appetite for another international initiative while its own efforts continue.

Small protest

This luxury isolated mountain retreat was chosen in part because of the threat of noisy anti-globalisation protests.

Canadian police are maintaining a visible presence here, but so far fewer than 50 protesters have arrived outside on a pair of hired buses.

They stood in their officially appointed place beside an open gate, chanting occasionally, almost outnumbered by the media.

To their evident surprise, two protesters were eventually allowed inside the security cordon and were granted a brief meeting with Mr Graham.

They told the minister of their vision of what the world's most powerful diplomats should be discussing: human rights, Third World poverty and environmental degradation.

The G8 consists of Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United States and Russia.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jon Leyne
"They have come to this idyllic mountain resort to tackle the world's troubles"

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13 Jun 02 | Americas
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