G8 leaders agree to spearhead jobs crisis, tax evasion

But conflict in Syria divides Russia and the West

G8 leaders agree to spearhead jobs crisis, tax evasion

Turin, June 18 - World leaders attending a G8 summit in Northern Ireland announced several agreements Tuesday on promoting economic growth and employment, and fighting tax evasion and money laundering, while how to solve the conflict in Syria continued to divide Russia and the West. In a joint statement, the leaders agreed that "an urgent priority is to promote growth and jobs, especially for young people and the long-term unemployed. Going into the talks, Italian Premier Enrico Letta made youth unemployment a major talking point, and US President Barack Obama reportedly said he would press the issue after meeting privately with Letta on the first day of the summit. "Sustaining demand, securing public finances, and reforms" were three keys to stimulating economic growth, the statement said. But with growth must also come austerity measures, the statement said, which are already in place throughout Europe since the euro crisis began to seriously threaten the stability of the single currency. Such measures are "strongly necessary" to reducing financial fragmentation, it said. "Budget sustainability must go together with well-defined growth strategies". According to Downing Street, the G8 leaders also reached an agreement on fighting money laundering and shell companies used to dodge taxes. As for Syria, the most the G8 leaders could all agree to was "to strongly support the proposal for a conference on reaching a political solution" to the conflict. The statements were part of a draft assessment of the meeting which was undergoing review. Outside the summit, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Serghiei Ryabkov said "there will be no reference (in the final draft) to the fate of (Syrian President Bashar al)-Assad due to the opposition of Russia". He also called on the US and Europe "to evaluate three or four times" the consequences of arming the rebels, which the countries have said they will do after confirming the use of chemical weapons by the government. Russia, which has arms contracts and other trade ties with the Syrian government, supports Assad.

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