G7 must agree position on G8’s future first: Russia

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PYATIGORSK/ MOSCOW

The Group of Seven nations should better agree their position on the future of the G8 format first rather then come out with contradictory statements, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. She noted that the topic of the possible resumption of the Group of Eight format was widely discussed at the moment. This format ceased to exist not at Russia’s discretion, she recalled. And once the Group of Seven nations really need and want it, it should be done. Today, we hear individual statements, which are not merely contradictory but are in different universes, but are voiced by representatives of one and same forum. And it is quite strange.

We think that once it is about the future of this dialogue format, members [of the Group of Seven] should first agree their position on that among themselves and only after that come out with a corresponding initiative, she stressed. At least, serious forums never behave like that.”

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal bloc of countries with the world’s largest economies that brings together the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States, France and Japan. In 1997, it was renamed the Group of Eight (G8) after Russia joined the club. In 2014, Western countries decided to return to the G7 format in the wake of the developments in Ukraine and the deterioration of relations with Russia.

Russia is not desperate to be back in the Group of Eight, the more so because many problems can be resolved more efficiently within the Group of Twenty format, Russian president’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. Return to the G7, the former G8, is not a goal in itself for Russia, he stressed. In any case, Russia thinks that now it is not very efficient to discuss global problems in geopolitics, security or economy without China and India.

So, other formats, for instance, the Group of Twenty, look more advantageous, he noted, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly said that Moscow was ready to cooperate with other states in any formats. The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal bloc of countries with the world’s largest developed economies that brings together the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States, France and Japan. In 1997, it was renamed the Group of Eight (G8) after Russia joined the club. In 2014, Western countries decided to return to the G7 format in the wake of the developments in Ukraine and the deterioration of relations with Russia.

US President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that “it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in” [the G8]. According to a senior US administration official cited by CNN, Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, held a telephone conversation on Tuesday and agreed that the Russian president should be invited to a G7 summit in 2020. According to CNN, Trump plans to broach the topic at a G7 summit scheduled to take place in Biarritz, France, on August 24-26.

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