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Impressions of the Denver Summit

by Sir Nicholas Bayne

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Foreign Policy

Much of the foreign ministers' report is taken up with global issues, like crime and terrorism, or with related subjects of non-proliferation, such as nuclear smuggling and plutonium management. Here again the documents report work in progress in working groups set up by previous summits, on terrorism, crime and non-proliferation - all part of the growing summit apparatus.

Among foreign policy issues treated in the communiqué of the eight, human rights gets a strong push, with a call for a ministerial report to Birmingham in 1998. This will be welcome to the UK, though it could mean yet another addition to the summit apparatus.

In the regional issues selected for statements by the leaders, Bosnia and the Middle East get extended treatment. Some of the others are there to meet the interests of specific summit partners: Hong Kong for the UK, Albania for Italy, Cambodia for Japan and France. Cyprus is apparently singled out because of revived American interest, with Holbrook being appointed US mediator.


Denver was a summit of promise rather than achievement, more interesting for what it started than what it completed. The Russian involvement was positive, this time, and the treatment of Africa was a good innovation. But the summit could not resolve differences over the environment.

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