EU foreign policy chief says US can invite Russia as ‘guest’ to G-7

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The European Union’s top diplomat on Tuesday said the U.S. is within its rights as the host of the upcoming Group of Seven (G-7) meeting to invite Russia as a guest, but cannot have Moscow return as a permanent member.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s minister for foreign affairs, said the host country of the G-7, the annual meeting of the world’s most advanced economies, can invite other governments as guests and that it reflects the agenda of the host.

“I would also like to stress the fact that it’s the prerogative of the G-7 chair — in this case the United States — to issue guest invitations, which reflects the host’s priorities,” Borrell said in a briefing with reporters, but said the U.S. holds no powers to change the number of members.

“But changing the membership or changing the format on a permanent basis is not a prerogative of the G-7 chair,” he said.

President Trump has said he wants Russia, along with Australia, South Korea and India, to participate at an in-person gathering in the U.S. of the G-7, which the president has postponed from June until September.

Russia was a member of the group until 2014, then called the G-8, but was removed after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

“Russia’s participation in the — at that time — G-8 has been suspended until Russia changes course and the environment allows for the G-8 to again have a meaningful discussion. This is not currently the case,” Borrell told reporters Tuesday. “I think I have to address you to the Hague Declaration from March 2014 explaining why the G-8 became the G-7 and why it is still difficult to believe that in the current circumstances it can again become the G-8.”

The Hague Declaration was a statement by the other permanent members — the U.S., Canada, France Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom — condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine and ended cooperation with Moscow, changing the G-8 to the G-7.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said Russia should continued to be excluded from the meeting for its ongoing occupation of Crimea.

“Russia was excluded from the G-7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago, and its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G-7, and it will continue to remain out,” Trudeau said during his daily news conference.

Tags Canada Donald Trump G7 Group of Seven Josep Borrell Justin Trudeau Russia United States US Vladimir Putin
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