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Summit Gets Down To World Business Leaders Tackle Hong Kong, Mideast, Trade, Cloning

Sun., June 22, 1997

Summit leaders wrestled Saturday with a laundry list of global challenges, working on a draft communique that would call upon China to guarantee free elections in Hong Kong and urge Middle East nations to jump start their fading peace process.

Discussing issues for the century ahead, summit “sherpas” fashioned a policy against human cloning at the urging of French President Jacques Chirac.

Bosnia, Africa and environmental protection were in the summit spotlight too.

“None of our nations can meet these challenges alone,” President Clinton said as he opened the 23rd annual summit of industrialized nations.

The leaders were talking and dining during a long day together that ended with a frontier dinner and then a program of all-American entertainment.

Their lieutenants were polishing a closing communique, a broad political document that supplanted the economic statement that had been the centerpiece of many previous meetings.

This year, the economic document was downgraded to a statement. It took Japan to task for its huge trade surplus and provided policy guidance to the other summit nations - the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and for the first time Russia. The United States was urged to keep inflation low and sustain its movement toward a balanced budget.

A draft communique said the leaders were “determined to reinject momentum” in talks involving Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

“We would like to see the peace process activated and stepped up,” said Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov. “We have to take the Middle East from a crisis situation so that negotiations can resume on all tracks, not just between the Israelis and the Palestinians but also with Syria.”

To bring this about, he said, “Israel should stop constructing new settlements” in the occupied territories” and the Palestinians should concentrate more on (internal) security matters.”

On another foreign policy front, the summit was promising new trade and investment help for the poorest nations in Africa.

In a separate statement, the leaders warned all sides in the Bosnian conflict that aid would be cut off if violations of the peace process continued.

The leaders gathered at the Denver Public Library, where they walked on fossil-embedded limestone floors and looked out at the foothills of the snowcapped Rockies.

While he was welcomed as a summit partner, Russian President Boris Yeltsin was excluded from a discussion on economic and financial matters. He used the time to promote Russia to 15 American business leaders.

The summit fell just days before the July 1 takeover of Hong Kong by China and the leaders called upon Beijing to insure Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity and preserve its fundamental freedoms. “We look forward to democratic elections in Hong Kong for a new legislature as soon as possible,” the draft communique said.

The issue of human cloning became a topic of the summit for the first time in the aftermath of the successful cloning of a sheep named Dolly by Scottish scientists. Chirac revived the issue over lunch Saturday, saying it was too important to ignore. Clinton readily agreed. Aides were instructed to draft language stating the leaders’ objections to all human cloning, U.S. officials said.

The leaders Saturday engaged in future-looking discussions of global problems lurking in the 21st century: the health and pension needs of aging baby boomers and infectious diseases that can race around the world.

Concerned about the brittle peace in Bosnia, the leaders issued a statement demanding fulfillment of the promises of the 1995 Dayton accords.

Clinton suggested they focus instead on how to deepen the peace now. The leaders said “the international community will maintain a long-term engagement” in divided Bosnia and the Balkans as a whole. While much of the language in the final communique was precooked weeks ago, a fight did break out over the environmental section.

The Europeans pushed for firm targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming. The United States, which has the highest per capita level of emissions of carbon dioxide in the world, wanted to avoid being locked in to a firm target.

On a day that a booby-trapped car bomb injured three men in Belfast. The leaders condemned “vicious terrorist attacks against innocents” around the globe. In his debut summit meeting, British Prime Minister Tony Blair sought Clinton’s help in restarting stalled peace talks.

“The longer we go on with these acts of terrorism, the less prospect there is of doing what everyone in Northern Ireland wants to happen, which is to get a lasting political settlement based on democratic and nonviolent means,” Blair said.

Among their agenda items, the leaders pledged an additional $300 million to help Ukraine build a new concrete shell to cover the remains to the destroyed Chernobyl reactor in the Ukraine. The effort already has cost $1 billion.



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