US President Donald Trump has dubbed Russia rejoining G7 “common sense” – but the move was met with resistance by some US allies. Trump insists it is better to talk with Moscow, instead of talking about it.
“Many of the things that we talk about are about [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Trump told Fox News Radio. Having the Russian leader in the room during the G7 talks would “get things done,” he added.
His statement came after the UK and Canada – two of America’s closest allies, and fellow G7 members – voiced their opposition to the idea of having Russia onboard again. London, for example, demanded Moscow be barred from rejoining the group until it “ceases its aggressive and destabilizing activity.”
Paris didn’t fancy the idea much either. “Russia was excluded from the G7 for precise reasons. As of today, we don’t think this situation has changed,” the Elysee Palace said, apparently referring to the Ukrainian crisis and Russia’s reunification with Crimea, which the G7 countries have labeled as annexation. Still, Paris also admitted that the West “must find ways to have a dialogue with Russia.”
The suggestion was met with little enthusiasm even in Berlin, with Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas saying it was “not the time” to change its format. Germany has recently locked horns with Washington over Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which the US is seeking to block.
However, Trump seems to have an even wider format in mind, given that he has announced plans to invite Australia, South Korea and India to join as well, calling the block’s current composition “outdated.” Created in the 1970s, the assembly of the West’s top economies presently comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that, although Trump was right about the G7’s outdatedness, his choice of new partners for dialog might not be optimal. “Without China, realizing any serious global initiative would likely be impossible,” the ministry said.
The meeting the US will host next month has been postponed until at least September, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump discussed Russia’s potential participation in a recent phone call with President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin has welcomed the idea of dialog, but not yet accepted his invitation.
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