Meeting in London on June 12, foreign ministers from the Group of Eight agreed to halt non-humanitarian loans to India and Pakistan as a response to the nuclear tests recently carried out by the two South Asian countries. The seven leading industrial democracies and Russia made two other requests. They called on the two countries, first, to halt their testing programs and, second, to forego deploying nuclear warheads on their missiles. The move by the G-8 was aimed at stepping up international diplomatic pressure on New Delhi and Islamabad. To strengthen that message, the G-8 diplomats also invited colleagues from five nonnuclear nations to join them for lunch. The five–from Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa and Ukraine–lined up behind the G-8’s criticism of India and Pakistan. The goal was reportedly to show Indian and Pakistani leaders that renunciation of nuclear weapons could bring international benefits.
The G-8 measure is aimed at halting loans to India and Pakistan for all projects except for those deemed necessary for the civilian populations. The United States had argued for stronger measures. Russia and other members, however, had argued against broader sanctions on the grounds that they would isolate the two countries and could also have an adverse impact on welfare of Indian and Pakistani civilians. (Reuter, AP, UPI, June 12; The Washington Post, June 13) During the talks in London, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov also met separately with his Japanese counterpart, Keizo Obuchi. The two agreed to coordinate their policies on India and Pakistan. Obuchi also used the meeting to urge Russia to ratify the START II treaty as quickly as possible. (Kyodo, June 12)
RUSSIA’S GAZPROM FLEXES POLITICAL MUSCLES.