British Prime Minister Blair speaks before G8 leaders at Gleneagles
Eriko Sugita  /  Reuters
British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks before Group of Eight world leaders and African leaders at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, on Friday demonstrating that the leaders were not deterred by the terror attacks in London, but continued their work.
By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/8/2005 11:36:37 AM ET 2005-07-08T15:36:37

Along with "Africa" and "global warming," security has been another buzzword in the weeks leading up to the Group of Eight summit here at Gleneagles Golf Resort in Scotland.

Chances are if you read a newspaper or saw a TV news story ahead of this  summit, you saw images of protesters and police clashing at previous events, along with the tidbit: "The British don't want that to happen here.”

So, every possible symbol of security was put to use. Hundreds of police and fortified vehicles fenced-off property; there are checkpoints at roads leading to the property; metal detectors, pat downs and mandatory ID badges hanging from every neck for everyone onsite; as well as the occasional helicopter hovering overhead. The message: it's safe to tackle the world's problems here.

But, from the moment Tony Blair addressed the cameras Thursday in the wake of London’s terror attacks, with the other seven leaders standing close by, the mood at this summit changed from earnestness to tight-lipped resolve.  

Back to work
Presidents, prime ministers and their staffers have kept up their duties and meetings, all behind closed doors. Communiques on the environment, trade and disease are being polished before their release. 

What was dropped from this summit: the moments of pomp from the schedule. What was added: last-minute press conferences from France's Jacques Chirac, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Canada's Paul Martin to express their solidarity with the British people.

It's said that stereotypes spring from a bit of truth, but in this case, there is something to be said for the British stiff upper lip. 

Blair called his Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to Gleneagles to work in his stead, while he headed to London to comfort the nation. There would be no canceling this summit, was Blair's message. 

Indeed, Blair was back at Gleneagles before sunset and the final meeting of the day. The police stood guard, even checking ID's as workers left for the night.

'Achievable progress'
As a sign that work had in fact continued, on Friday the leaders declared that global warming did require urgent action, but set no measurable targets for reducing the greenhouse gases that trigger it.

The leaders stated that they recognized that “climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the planet.”

The leaders also wrapped up their summit with what they termed, an “alternative to the hatred” — a $50 billion aid package for Africa and $3 billion in additional support for the Palestinians.

“We speak today in the shadow of terrorism, but it will not obscure what we came here to achieve,” said Blair, at the close of the three-day gathering. “It isn’t all that everyone wanted but it is progress — real, achievable progress.”

“All of this does not change the world tomorrow — it is a beginning, not an end,” he added.

Rosiland Jordan is an NBC News correspondent on assignment at the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


Discussion comments