President Donald Trump said Saturday that he has postponed a planned meeting of the G7 nations until September, and that he will invite four other nations to the summit: Australia, India, Russia and South Korea, CNN reports:
“‘I’m postponing it because I don’t feel as a G7 it probably represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,’ Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday.
“The G7 is comprised of the US, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Japan.”
Allowing Russia to again join the G7 and attend the summit is certain to be controversial. Russia was kicked out of the G7 in 2014 as punishment for its annexation of Crimea and aggression toward Ukraine. A statement issued by the seven members of the group at the time noted:
“International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force. To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s constitution.
“We also strongly condemn Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations.”
Russia originally tried to downplay its dismissal from the G7, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Larov remarking:
“G8 is an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards and, by its definition, cannot remove anyone,” he said during a news conference. ” All the economic and financial questions are decided in G20, and G8 has the purpose of existence as the forum of dialogue between the leading Western countries and Russia.”
But when Donald Trump became president, the Russians immediately began demanding reentry into the group of industrialized nations. And it now appears they’ll be getting exactly what they want.
It remains unclear if any other leaders will even appear for the planned September summit. Canada, France, and Germany have all said they won’t commit to attending in September. Part of that is due to the fact that fears of coronavirus transmission remain high and the virus could make a comeback later this fall.
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