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2005 Gleneagles Summit Analytical Studies

See also: Official Documents

London Explosions Will Not Divert
the Gleneagles Summit Leaders

Professor John Kirton, Director G8 Research Group
July 7, 2005

The many deadly explosions taking place in London on the morning of Thursday, July 7 – the first full working day of the Gleneagles Summit – will not divert the attention of the G8 leaders at Gleneagles from the agenda they have long agreed upon. During the morning, the leaders continued with their previously scheduled sessions on the world economy and climate change, both alone at eight and also with the plus-five leaders who dined with the G8 leaders over a working lunch. Although Blair previously spoke publicly about the events in London in his capacity as prime minister of the United Kingdom, he made his statement about the events in his capacity as chair of the Gleneagles G8 at about 13h20 GMT, which was the time previously scheduled for the group photograph of the G8 leaders together with the plus-five leaders. Thus Blair's statement was issued with all in the background, immediately prior to the group photograph, symbolizing the solidarity of both the G8 and the broader international community with the ongoing fight against terrorism.

Just after 13h20 GMT, Blair lifted off by helicopter to go to London to meet face to face with his emergency response teams at work there. But he is expected to return to Gleneagles that evening. He will thus probably miss the previously scheduled G8 session starting at 17h00 and devoted to regional issues and the Broader Middle East and North Africa and any other subjects the leader wanted to. He is likely to be back for the previously scheduled 20h15 start for the working dinner of the G8 leaders alone, without even their sherpas present, devoted to a discussion of regional issues, counterproliferation, nuclear issues, foreign policy issues and anything else on the leaders' minds. At both the 17h00 and 20h15 sessions, the leaders have long been slated to deal with significant items of ongoing G8 concern, including counterterrorism and the Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI). They will thus have more than enough preplanned time to discuss the London explosions in their proper context of the G8's ongoing fight against terrorism.

On Friday morning, the G8 leaders have been scheduled to start at 10h00 to deal with Africa, first alone, and then, after 11h25, with their invited African friends. There is thus much available time to focus on the London explosions again, prior to the formal 10h00 start of the working session, and during the actual working sessions, where the political and security dimensions of poverty reduction in Africa were already slated to be discussed. Indeed of the success of the G8 in the leadup to Gleneagles in debt relief and development assistance, there is more time for the leaders in their Friday sessions to deal with the terrorist-related aspects of African development in both its sub-Saharan and North African domains. These G8 leaders and their African friends will be well aware that al Qaeda —initiatated attacks on G8 nationals came from Sudan and Kenya in the late 1990s. They will also be aware that since 1996 the al Qaeda terrorist network has targeted G8 leaders at their annual summit in efforts to kill them and their citizens there.

As research shows that terrorist shocks are one of the strongest causes of a highly successful G8 performance, the London explosions are likely to give an added impetus to the historically high performance that the Gleneagles Summit was already well on its way to produce.

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