The world's most powerful leaders had planned to start talks in Scotland on Thursday on aid to Africa and climate change, but the meeting was brutally overshadowed by a coordinated terrorist attack on London.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair left the G8 summit after the attack
A dark and tense mood redolent of 9/11 swept over the Gleneagles Hotel, the Scottish golfing resort where the Group of Eight (G8) met with the heads of five developing nations to discuss the planet's long-term problems. British Prime Minister Tony Blair described the London blasts as "terrorist attacks" that had apparently been timed to start with the summit.
In a show of unity, the G8 leaders condemned the London bomb attacks on all nations. "This is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations and on civilized people everywhere," Blair read a statement with the other heads of the G8 countries standing with him.
Blair earlier said he would leave the summit to be briefed on the attacks and return to Gleneagles in the evening, but the meeting would continue in his absence.
Injured tube passengers are escorted away from Edgware Road Tube Station in London following an explosion, Thursday July 7, 2005.Several blasts went off on the London subway and on at least one double-decker bus during the morning rush hour Thursday, police said, injuring riders and prompting officials to shut down the entire underground transport network. British Home Secretary Charles Clarke said there had been "terrible injuries." (AP Photo/ Jane Mingay)
"It is important... that those engaged in terrorism realize it is that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction on innocent people and impose extremism on the world," said Blair.
Grim-looking police, brought up from London to add security to the G8 summit, gazed at TV pictures of a gutted bus in the British capital and a scrolling news crawl about casualties. A previously packed media center emptied as hundreds of journalists rushed to catch planes and trains to London.
Summit just underway
The string of attacks on London's transport system occurred just as the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States began formal talks. They were being joined by the heads of state or government from Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, center rear, chairs the first round table meeting during the G8 summit at the Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder, Scotland, Thursday, July 7, 2005. Leaders are clockwise from center rear, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin, Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, U.S President George W. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
US President George W. Bush vowed Thursday the war on terrorism would continue until "an ideology of hate" had been overcome.
"They have such evil in their heart that they will take the
lives of innocent folks. The war on terrorism is on," Bush told reporters on the sidelines of the summit. "I was most impressed with the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve."
The summit was scheduled later Thursday to produce a communiqué and a so-called Gleneagles Plan of Action on climate change. But details that leaked from the talks suggested both documents would be bland, in deference to US demands for a voluntary rather than a binding approach for tackling greenhouse gases.
Bush still opposes Kyoto
Bush on Thursday reiterated his opposition to the UN's Kyoto Protocol climate pact as too costly and unfair for the American economy. The deal expires in 2012.
"Now it is time to get beyond the Kyoto period and develop a strategy that is inclusive not only of the United States but also with developing nations," Bush said after a meeting with Tony Blair.
Bush said there was a "consensus to move forward together." But he reiterated his long-standing demands that a global warming treaty include developing countries such as China and India, which are currently excluded from Kyoto provisions requiring specific pollution cuts.
"The most constructive way to deal with the problem from our perspective is one, to not only include the United States in discussions, but also include developing countries in discussion, countries like India and China," he said.
Bush opposes Kyoto's call for a cap on carbon pollution, declaring that this would be ruinously expensive for the US economy, which is chronically dependent on oil, gas and coal.
Blair, who has placed progress on combating climate change and boosting development to aid Africa at the heart of the three-day summit, appeared to acknowledge that a hard-hitting statement here was unlikely. Africa will be the main topic on Friday.
"There is no point going over the Kyoto debate," he said.