G8 pledges £12bn to "Arab Spring"

Group of Eight leaders promised $20bn (£12bn) in aid to new Arab democracies on Friday when they met in France to endorse a programme aimed at fostering changes sweeping North Africa and the Middle East.

Leaders were concluding their annual two-day summit with the launch of a partnership for the region that ties aid and development cash to progress on democracy and economic reforms by states which have thrown off autocratic rulers.

The G8 leaders, in the northern resort of Deauville for their annual summit, said they "strongly support the aspirations of the Arab Spring as well as those of the Iranian people."