U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stressed the urgent need to resolve security concerns about Syria, Iran and North Korea, as she opened a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in Washington.
The two days of talks are aimed at setting the agenda for next month's G8 summit at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.
Secretary Clinton said Wednesday the ministers are alarmed at the ongoing violence in Syria, and are concerned about the problems special envoy Kofi Annan is facing as he tries to secure a cease-fire.
She also said there is still time for diplomacy in Iran, but that it is urgent Iran comes to the negotiation table.
Clinton said the G8 ministers all have a strong interest in peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. She said a North Korean missile launch would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Along with the United States, G8 members include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Russia.