Foreign Ministers from the G8 — the world's seven richest nations and Russia on Tuesday failed to reach any agreement on a military intervention or even the establishment of a no-fly zone against Colonel Qadhafi's forces in Libya. France, which was the first country to recognise the rebel National Transiton Council based in Benghazi tried hard but failed to convince the other seven to choose the military option to counter the Libyan strongman.

Instead the furthest the G8 was prepared to go was to call on the United Nations to “further increase the pressure” on Colonel Qadhafi. The meetings final text fails to make any mention of a no-fly zone. “I have failed to convince them,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe admitted in an interview. “Today we do not have the military means [to counter Mr. Qadhafi] because the international community has not decided to do so.”

N-catastrophe

The G8 also expressed concern about the nuclear catastrophe unfolding in Japan.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to temporarily shut down seven ageing nuclear reactors and placed a moratorium on Germany's decision to revive the nuclear energy option which was abandoned by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. In France the government said it was “preparing for the worst”.

France has the world's largest implantation of nuclear reactors — over 50 — which supply the country with 80 per cent of its energy needs. Initial efforts by the government to play down the events in Japan, evidently in an attempt to protect France's own flourishing nuclear industry — have now given way to a new realism about the risks of a radioactive fallout in Japan.

The shared of France's nuclear giant Areva fell by over 10 per cent on the markets on Tuesday.

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