G7 summit with Russia – and without Merkel?

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Donald Trump wants to modernize the format and also have South Korea, India and Australia with him – but not the Chinese

US President Donald Trump said at the weekend that he did not believe that the G7 group, which was launched 45 years ago and which he considered “very outdated”, still “correctly represents what is going on in the world”. Therefore he wanted to modernize the format and a “G10 or G11”, which should include not only the USA, Japan, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Canada but also Russia, South Korea, India, and Australia.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae In said he thanked his American counterpart over the phone for the invitation. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Trump had called him again personally and was looking forward to attending the meeting.

Noticeable absence

A spokesman for Morrison’s cabinet welcomed the Australian Prime Minister’s invitation, noting that “strengthening international cooperation between like-minded states is valuable in an era of unprecedented global challenges.” He did not speak about the challenges that this could mean apart from the corona shock.

If you take a look at the map and see which economic and military giant doesn’t appear in Trump’s proposals, but borders India, South Korea, and Russia (and isn’t very far from Australia), it becomes clear what he might have meant: “Dealing with China”, which a White House spokeswoman is said to be one of the topics of the summit. Former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer publicly welcomed this. According to the Social Democrat, “most, if not all, of the countries in the Indo-Pacific region” would be “vassal states of China” today if the United States did not exist.

Russia wants to know details

Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the G7 meeting in Biarritz in Basque last year – but only as guests. At that time, French President Emmanuel Macron had invited her. Russia, on the other hand, was not a guest in previous participations, but a member of the group when it was temporarily called the G8. But after the Crimean crisis in 2014, the other heads of state and government no longer wanted Russian President Vladimir Putin with them. Nothing changed when Donald Trump campaigned for a resumption at the last two summits.

The Russian government had taken this openly and argued that the larger G20 group with countries like China and India is much more important today than the G7, which has shrunk back to the old circle of friends from the Cold War. This was also emphasized by Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Federation Council when he said that the details had to be known before commenting on the new American proposal. A mere “place as a spectator” is just as unacceptable as an “association against other countries”.

It is unclear what details Donald Trump announced to Vladimir Putin over the phone. The Kremlin has so far only said that yesterday’s conversation between the two heads of state was “factual” and “constructive”. In addition, “the importance of activating the dialogue between Moscow and Washington was emphasized. This was important for” strategic stability “and for” confidence-building measures in the military field “.

Trudeau wants without Putin, Macron only with Merkel

A resumption of Russia is still explicitly rejected by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He announced today that Russia continues to proudly display its “lack of respect for international rules and standards”, which is why the country will remain outside the G7 circle. Emmanuel Macron, the other Francophone country representative in the group, said after a phone call to Trump about “Progress in convening the G7” that in his view such a summit could not take place without German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

For Merkel, who had agreed in the Mail Macron’s plan for the introduction of Eurobonds (see Merkel and Macron agree with quasi-Eurobonds), a spokesman for the German government said at the weekend that “given the overall pandemic situation” she “is currently” able to participate personally, a trip to Washington, not to be accepted “. It left open whether and under what conditions this will still apply in September or at a later date.

According to US President Donald Trump, an appointment in September would be favorable because the heads of state and government and their entourages would then travel to the United Nations General Assembly in New York anyway. If the G-meeting takes place immediately before or after, you could save flights as well as tax money. But the president would also be willing to postpone it to a date after the American presidential election in November.

The G7 summit, with the United States as the host, was originally planned to run between June 10th and 12th. After the corona pandemic spread around the world, the heads of state and government agreed to a mere video conference in March. In the meantime, Trump’s view has gotten so far under control that a personal meeting is also possible.

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