May 27 - As the G8 pledges $20 billion to support new Arab democracies, U.S. President Barack Obama says the U.S. and France will ''finish the job'' in Libya. Penny Tweedie reports.
Group of Eight leaders had an early start on their second day of talks at the french sea side town of Deauville. They were focused on the Arab Spring and promised 20 billion dollars in aid to new Arab democracies. The plan was to endorse a programme aimed at fostering changes sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. It would take the form of a partnership for the region linking aid and development cash to progress on democracy and economic reforms by states which have thrown off autocratic rulers. EC President Jose Manuel Barroso was in talked with interim Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi. alongside President of the European Council, Hermann von Rompuy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO SAYING: "But it's not just about the economy but it's about a bigger engagement with those societies, with those civil societies, and I think they are ready. Let's now do everything we can to support this Arab Spring, I think it can succeed and if it succeeds it's a very powerful signal for all the Arab countries and also for the predominantly muslim countries in the world." Troubled Libya was also on the agenda . U.S. President Barack Obama said the France the U.S. would "finish the job" after a bilateral meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "But meeting the U.N. mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when (Muammar) Gaddafi remains in Libya, directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people. (INTERPRETER) We are joined in resolve to finish the job." Tunisia and Egypt whose leaders were both at the G8 summit face huge economic pressure following popular uprisings that toppled their long serving authoritarian leaders. The revolts triggered similar insurrection in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria and left Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fighting to stay in power. According to a draft statement seen by Reuters, the G8 will say the changes under way are historic and could open the doors to the kind of transformation that occurred in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Penny Tweedie, Reuters.