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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
What did the G8 summit achieve?
President Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, at the G8 summit
The leaders of the G8 have ended their conference with plans to promote democracy in the Middle East and relieve the debt burden in Africa.

The host, US President George W Bush, said there was momentum for change in the Middle East and a consensus was emerging on the need for reform.

However, agreeing the Middle East plan required a lot of concessions, including an emphasis that reform would come from within the region, rather than being imposed by other nations.

And there were signs of division over Iraq, with French President Jacques Chirac rejecting President Bush's suggestions of an expanded role for Nato.

What do you think of the outcome of the G8 meeting? Is it a sign of improving relations after disagreements on Iraq? Will the plans for Africa and the Middle East achieve anything?

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far.

What is striking was how comfortable Tony Blair looked along side Mr Bush at the press conference. Their body language said it all. He looked happy standing tall next to the president, like two school chums. What's extraordinary is, as time goes on their politics too seem to converge!
Serbiach, Orange, CA, USA

Let's stop the critique and applaud the Host and the G8 leaders for encouraging and deciding to stand by the few African leaders who amazingly have bright ideas, seemed devoted and decided to turn around the poor life of their people, peace and growth of the whole nation and the globe by fighting corruption, poverty and illiteracy.
Alemayehu Molla, Boston, MA, USA

Absolutely nothing - and at huge expense!
Rob, England

These meetings serve two purposes: 1-Photo-opprtunities for electioneering at home, like the picture on this page. 2- more importantly, retirement plans; which minister goes on which board of directors of which multinational company. Leaders in advanced societies retire to cushy seats on the boards of multinationals on whose behalf they wage wars, open markets, privatize utilities and hand over welfare provision.
pathologist, Orpington, UK

Debt relief subsidizes corruption. Instead of wasting taxes on more failed international ventures, we could decrease our 6+ trillion federal debt.
David, Portland, OR

It gave the rich and powerful a chance to go on a jaunt at the taxpayers expense.
Mark, UK
This G8 meeting achieved exactly the same as the last one. It gave the rich and powerful a chance to go on a jaunt at the taxpayers expense for several days, mouth a list of platitudes, and then go home and forget about it until the next one.
Mark, UK

It achieved some giggles in our house, especially the coach painted golf carts.
Kevin B, Amsterdam.

I got goose bumps when I read the points of GW's "plan" for the Middle East. Half a century ago the same major players sat down and decided to "re-form" the region by giving away Palestine to "create" a new state of Israel. Bobby Kennedy was clear and correct when he said, "those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it." What makes Bush and Blair believe that the people of the Middle East are passive primitives who will welcome Western "democracy" as if were the gift of fire?
Kate, Spain

It achieved naught but to make North Korea very nervous
Jen M, Boston, USA
Apart from having fun on their golf carts and letting the world see other leaders toy with Bush, it achieved naught but to make North Korea very nervous. Now we really need an unstable nuclear power nervous, don't we? Waste of time and breath. G-8 has outlived its usefulness.
Jen M, Boston, USA

Let's wait and see! For what the meeting achieved? Excellent photo shots for all! African leaders feeling so important to have been invited and the world leaders? A pretence of caring for the poor ones of Africa. If the world really cares, then set aside the injustices of the WTO, and stop supporting undemocratic and corrupt African leaders!
Arin O, London

Fantastic idea - African/Middle Eastern UN troops. Are they going to get UN rate wages? What is going to ensure financial pressures don't make this just another great idea on paper ?
Moira, UK

100% debt cancellation! Sound greedy, well typical of African leaders. When are they going to get back all the billions embezzled by their friends and cronies? This will give a positive sign that we are ready to build our Nations devoid of corrupt leaders rather than calling for others to clear their mess. Without this I will never support this crazy idea though I am an African still finding things very very difficult because of the atrocities committed by Nigerian leaders, past and present.
Matthew O Adepoju, Eruwa, Nigeria

It was lovely to see the world's big eight deciding what to do to the rest of the world. Early 20th century, they ruled the rest of the world. Then they decided that they'll rule the world flexing their economic muscle and have largely succeeded in accomplishing that. Then they decided who should rule which country and succeeded in that as well. What else is left for the rest of the world, we're waiting to hear and see.
Sugavaneswaran, Madras, India

Leave us in our jungle and stop calling our leaders and giving them false hope
Aziz Jagne, Brikama

Why can't this so called G8 leave Africa in peace? This is not the first time debt relief came up and we still don't see anything. Take your bog money and make differences in your own back yards. For USA - Haiti is right behind them, and for Western Europe - the eastern bloc is suffering. Remember charity begins at home. Leave us in our jungle and stop calling our leaders and giving them false hope.
Aziz Jagne, Brikama, Gambia

Sometimes countries need a helping hand in moving towards democracy. It worked so well for Germany - why shouldn't it work for Britain and Iraq?
Anon, Leeds, UK

Only time will tell if something good emerges from the talks between the leaders
S Garney, KC

Like many of the summit meetings before I believe this one does not show outward signs of success. Only time will tell if something good emerges from the talks between the leaders. I am, however, proud of both Tony Blair as well as Bush in leading the charge in trying to relieve the burden of debt in developing countries too often ruled by despots. The fact that most of this huge burden on poor countries is due in large part to the long ago roots of avaricious European colonialism is not lost on the American public. Especially as some of those same former colonial powers who felt the need to carve up the rest of the world for profit have as leaders attended the meeting. Instead of protesting US warmongering maybe Europeans can ask their own governments of their centuries long rape for profit of the rest of the world.
S Garney, KC, USA

I'm sick of having to pay my taxes and have it all thrown this big empty hole. How many times do we have to put millions and millions into Africa so they can spend it on another war with neighbouring tribes? How many times are we going to bail them out, just for them to mess it up again?
John Mayo, Cardiff, UK

Stroking international egos. It achieved little more than that.
Julie, USA

The usual lip service. G8 is just one of those talking clubs where members meet to lunch, wine, and dine while pretending to be doing something worthy for human causes. The problem of democracy in the Middle East and debt burden in Africa can only be solved by the people in the Middle East and Africa. No amount of G8 side show will ever amount to anything!
Banya Ku'Caya, Hattiesburg, USA

Don't forgive Africa's debts and you spread ignorance, human trafficking, and most importantly, population explosion. Bigger populations means bigger basic food consumption, bigger potential demand and perpetual economic growth potentials. Eventually the big numbers must lead to gargantuan economies like China. Can the G8 compete then?
Amiesimaka D, Lagos, Nigeria

It's one thing to agree on something and it's another to implement it
Elison Kombora, Harare

It's a matter of putting principle to practise. It's one thing to agree on something and it's another to implement it. I question the sincerity of the G8 to debt burden relief.
Elison Kombora, Harare, Zimbabwe

The cynicism in these comments makes me very happy that you people do not live in my neighbourhood. Instead of whining and blaming, get off your butts and do something positive to make a change and help others. Or are you simply content to armchair quarterback everything, provide meaningless commentary, and wait for someone else to solve your problems? What a pathetic group of analysts represented here.
Lisa, Wisconsin, USA

I see these leaders can introduce war, so I believe they can bring peace also, if they want.
Shohidul Islam, Trondheim, Norway

Let's get real here; there are only eight nations because those nations are the most capable of solving such complicated issues that require a massive amount of funds to achieve. Unfortunately, the developed world can't obviously contribute into a global matter financially, so lets be perspective here please. Even though I agree that China, should be included, and possibly India in the longer run.
Michael, USA

It achieved nothing except a freebie trip to the USA for Mrs Blair, probably at the tax payer's expense, for what reason. She wasn't a delegate at the conference. The improvement will be the same as the last ten years, nil.
Lester Stenner, Weston Super Mare, UK

Lets all pray that this ends soon!
Yonathan, Seattle

Wake up world it's called economic apartheid! They won't do anything because it is not in their national interests. Doesn't it make you feel warm inside knowing that not to far away from this summit people in Palestine are suffering and mass starvation is occurring in the Sudan. Lets all pray that this ends soon!
Yonathan, Seattle, WA, USA

The G8 summit outcome serves to temporarily prop up the US dollar and its economy before total collapse later this year.
Dr Frederick Hause, UK/Australia

I'm glad that some of our world leaders are talking about what is going on in Sudan. I don't know what can be done about it. But I'm praying that God will give our leaders the wisdom and courage to deal with this situation.
Kevin, Novinger, USA

G-8 is the modern day colonial masters.
Ikeogu S Okoro, Nigeria/USA

In one word - nothing.
Josh Freetale, Cape Town

If the protestors at past summits had eschewed violence then an island venue might not have been necessary.
Richard, Chesham, UK

There is one way to clear the complete debt of the whole of Africa, simply get all the leaders of the one party state countries, and their friends and hangers on, to open up their Swiss bank accounts, and Hey presto! Debt will be cleared.
Jeff Lydiatt, Scharnhausen, Germany

It accomplished practically nothing other than photo-ops and proclamations because no leaders of Arab nations that need to change most showed up and because what G8 was proposing means the effective end of their rule. To reform the Middle East, it must be done despite these people, not with them. As for China, well China is excluded for two reasons: firstly it is the world's 8th or 9th largest economy still and Russia is filling the 8th spot. Secondly, all the G8 nations except Russia are world benchmarks for human rights, domestic tranquillity and civil liberties, and even Russia is more progressive than China. China will be welcome to G8 when it reforms. As is, it is not welcome.
Jonathan Navia, Boston

I think it's a useless conference because of no output for Iraq and Middle East in a real sense.
Mukhtar Ahmed, Rawalpini, Pakistan

The point of the summit is a diplomatic one and that typically means a lot of talking and handshaking
Brent, Joliet

I swear the majority of people here must have just fallen off the proverbial turnip truck! The naiveté exhibited is astounding. Of course, there was a huge security presence. From that standpoint, an island is a brilliant location. Of course there is no interest in these leaders being harassed by demonstrators. Of course, the point of the summit is a diplomatic one and that typically means a lot of talking and handshaking. Why should this be a surprise to anyone? Geez, people, grow up and face the political reality.
Brent, Joliet, IL, USA

Why is it so hard for the rich to see the desperate need for their action on the Debt issue? They have yet to take the World Bank's earlier irresponsible actions seriously. Why?
Louise B, UK

I think the meeting of G8 leaders has meaning but we, the undeveloped countries, won't be helped. They have this meeting just to find the best way to control the world and look like a good boy.
Eduardo Girardi, São Paulo, Brazil

As with most politicians and their meetings - a very expensive, publicity getting, waste of time. Think of the money that could be saved, if it was done by video conferencing!
Ken, Herts, UK

So, once again the world's wealthiest nations put in place measures to ensure they get richer from the worlds poorest nations. I am absolutely disgusted.
Paul, Glasgow, Scotland

Forcing democracy will not work and certainly not with guns. It has to come from within.
John, Calgary, Canada

Why does everyone have to be so cynical? It was a civil meeting between the leaders of the world and all you can do is bash it or object to it or whatever you people are doing. Grow up and maybe we can make the world a better place.
John Michaels, San Diego, USA

They call it G8, we call them the great 8 liars who care for themselves and create systems which favour these greedy lots while the poor get poorer.
Tony, Arusha, Tanzania

G8 achieved a small vacation! That's it!
Saurabh Tandon, Michigan, USA

The Summit achieved in erasing tourism revenue for small businesses in Savannah.
KB, California, USA

Well at least Tony has his priority sorted. Labour gets a trumping at local elections and Blair is 10,000 miles away from Britain. Goes to show how concerned he is about Britain. My advice stay in America and don't come back.
Hanif, UK

The exclusion of China reveals the G8 summit for what it is; a self-serving farce.
YuJen, Hong Kong

Just as much as they always do - wasted money, diverted attention, played politics and generated a few hundred miles of column inches - in practical terms, precisely nothing.
Gareth Evans, Banff, Scotland

Opposition to our leaders was not possible
Taz, UK

The G8 summit was held on an island with a security operation that would rival the entire security apparatus of many small nations. This meant that opposition to our leaders was not possible. The summit was really a pep talk between Dubya and Blair. Why is it called the G8? It should be called the G2 and the other 6.
Taz, UK

Whatever it achieved, I believe that a personal meeting is what is always needed to bring agreement to the table of our leaders. By phone or video, would invite further detachment. And to those who whine "Why should eight men decide the fate of six billion?!" Answer: Because they were elected to!
Chris, Branson, USA

Even if nothing is accomplished, I do not understand why people are mad about leaders getting together to talk about promoting democracy and ways to reduce violence. If people are angry about this imagine if people got together to speak about discouraging democracy and ways to increase violence.
Brian, San Martin, CA, US

As far as I am concerned the G8 is full of talks and no visible action.
Chika Nwosu, London

Cool, our leaders are making plans to do something while we sit here and complain about it. I wonder who is calling who a hypocrite?
Paul, USA

We are no longer colonised countries to make plans for our development. We know what means development when G8 speaks about Africa. It means neo-colonisation. Please G8 leave us alone and we will be developed, the way we want it and feel it. That is democracy. Leave us alone, without your wars you are fuelling in Africa taking advantage of some unscrupulous African leaders.
Jean-Pierre Nziya, Nairobi

The most significant outcome of the G8 meeting is that the leaders of the most prosperous nations can get together and discuss world issues in a civilised manner. I am pleased that there were no violent displays of protest by our citizens.
Chuck C, Pennsylvania

As a volunteer working in Dodoma, Tanzania I would suggest that anyone commenting should come to Africa to help relieve poverty before making any further comments.
Bill Trask, Co Spgs, Colorado, USA

The reforming should start with the USA and then Britain
Mike, Raleigh, USA
The audacity of the so-called developed nations never ceases to amaze me. Who anointed them, especially the USA to be King of the World? Reform in the Middle East? Maybe they don't wish to be reformed. After 3.5 years of George Bush here, I would say the reforming should start with the USA and then Britain. Both countries should pledge to the world that they will never let administrations like Bush and Blair ever in power again.
Mike, Raleigh, USA

Modern technology makes these summits a total waste of money. Videoconferencing technology has been commercially viable for a while now. It was gross hypocrisy of George W. Bush to have the electrically powered vehicles, but cause the leaders to burn up lots of fuel to fly to a summit that could have been done by videoconferencing.
Graeme Phillips, Berlin, Germany (normally UK)

Why not call the G8 the new Security Council. Let's face it, 4 of the 5 permanent members of the current Security Council are also members of the exclusive G8 group. It seems to me that all major decisions are made by this body and the rest of the Security Council just play along to see what they can get out of any agreement. The G8 summit will not create any new kind of ideas for the Middle East as most of the countries either didn't attend or were not invited. The G8 doesn't speak for the world, it speaks for those who want to control the world.
David Spenser, Ra'anana, Israel

Come on, it achieved precisely nothing concerning the Middle East or Africa. It was just a nice photo opportunity for Mr Bush, to try and convince the US electorate that the other leaders have buried their differences with him.
Brian Bailey, Winterthur, Switzerland

Well it appears very little. A few soundbites and nothing more. Oh, and the man in the white suit got caned in the local elections.
Gerry, UK

It is a great achievement for the world. Progress will be made in nurturing democracy in the Middle East. I truly believe it!
Vladimir, Kiev, Ukraine

Democracy cannot be imposed
Saqib Khan, UK
I wonder if President Bush understands the true meaning of "democracy". It cannot be imposed and is an evolutionary process that takes decades to develop and therefore totally contradicts President Bush's comprehension of its meaning.
Saqib Khan, UK

Photo-opportunities for some, some diplomatic cover for spinning prior to the elections for some and a way to stay away from embarrassment at home for some, but definitely all of these for our good old Tony!
Rakesh, London, UK

Even more hot air and empty words than usual, with a laughably desperate attempt at unity and common agreement. In fact, nothing will change.
J F M, London, UK

We cannot expect that such a summit can deal with anything essentially. It's just a club party.

Any group that must meet on an isolated island away from the people has little to offer anyone, least of all the poor of the world. Nothing of significance was gained, nothing.
George Semsel, West Yarmouth, USA

Reality continues to bite for the people of Africa and the Middle-East
Gauri Sharma, India
The stage was set, curtain was raised, dialogues well rehearsed and delivered, photographs taken. Curtain down again, end of yet another "perfect show". But reality continues to bite for the people of Africa and the Middle-East and will continue to in years to come! I feel sorry for them.
Gauri Sharma, India

These summits always produce a statement which says what everyone wants to hear, but they rarely seem to go on to achieve much that makes a difference. I'm afraid we've all heard the same rhetoric before over Africa and the Middle East. When I see something actually change, I might be inclined to believe the G8 members. Until then, they are just a bunch of politicians doing what they always do: sweet-talking the people.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

Before having set the list of new politically savvy initiatives the leaders of the G8 will have hopefully discussed how recent national interest-driven policies are negatively affecting the globe, and how to better utilise the international institutions that serve to promote the interests of the underdeveloped world in the future.
Michelangelo Ellis, Boston, MA, USA


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