As the horrific events unfolded in London yesterday, the leaders of the world’s eight most powerful nations gathered together to show their solidarity with Britain as they stood side-by-side behind Prime Minister Tony Blair as he condemned the attacks.
“We will prevail, and they will not,” Mr. Blair told the nation.
Mr. Blair was forced to leave the crucial negotiations on climate change, as the question arose of whether the central objective of the attack was to disrupt the summit – and whether in fact, it has at least partly succeeded.
Mr. Blair’s sudden departure from the G8 disrupted plans for his dialogue with five of the most important developing countries – India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.
Their leaders had been invited to the G8 summit to discuss climate change and trade negotiations, in which they are playing an increasingly important role.
The prime minister already had the outlines of a climate change deal before the bombs struck, appearing with US President George W Bush in an early morning press conference and announcing that the US would support some sort of language accepting that human activity was causing global warming.
It was not enough for many environmental groups including earthdive, but it did earn the support of French President Jacques Chirac, who earlier had been threatening to demand a separate statement from all the G8 countries except the US.
As negotiations continued throughout the afternoon, chaired by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, it became clear that the issue of climate change would be postponed until the last day of summit.
Mr. Blair returned to Gleneagles overnight to greet African leaders who had been invited to the summit to endorse the other big deal of this summit – a pledge by rich countries to double aid to Africa.
Again, the heart of this deal was sealed last week, when President Bush announced that the US would be joining the EU in pledging more money to Africa – increasing aid by $25bn (