Germany Rebuffs Trump’s Call to Let Russia Rejoin G7, Reminds of Ukraine
German Foreign Minister Maas has criticized Moscow for its role in the conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, and Libya.
Germany has rejected a proposal by US President Donald Trump that Russia be allowed to join once again the Group of Seven (G7).
In May and June, Trump suggested letting Russia back into the G7, the intergovernmental economic organization consisting of seven major developed countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US.
Russia used to be incorporated into the G7 into the so called G8 political forum from 1997 until 2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and became involved in a separatist insurgency in the Eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass, a war which has been ongoing ever since.
In addition to widespread Western sanctions, Moscow’s encroachments against Ukraine led to Russia’s expulsion, the disbanding of the G8, and reverting back to the G7.
In an interview in Monday’s edition of German newspaper Rheinische Post, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made it clear that the German government had rejected Trump’s overture to allow Russia to rejoin the G7 and thus restore the G8.
“The reason for Russia’s exclusion was the annexation of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine,” Maas said, as cited by DW.
“As long as we do not have a solution there, I see no chance for this,” he added.
Germany’s top diplomat declaring that Moscow needed to put greater effort into solving the conflict in Ukraine.
“Russia itself can make the biggest contribution to reopening such doors,” Maas said.
“The G7 and G20 are two sensibly coordinated formats. We don’t need G11 or G12,” the minister added, referring to the G20, the larger group of the world’s biggest industrialized economies, which also includes Russia.
The German Foreign Minister argued, however, that Russia remained important to the G7 even though it was not part of the organization.
“We also know that we need Russia in order solve conflicts in Syria, Libya, and Ukraine. That will not work against Russia, but only with Russia,” Maas said.
He further criticized Russia for preventing 1.5 million people in Syria from receiving humanitarian aid.
“Russia is in control of how it is perceived,” the German Foreign Minister added.
Germany, together with France, Russia, and Ukraine, has been part of the Normandy Format, a group trying restore peace in Eastern Ukraine, after the eruption of a pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine’s Donbass back in 2014.
The Donbass insurgency broke out in the months after Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in February – March 2014.
More than 13,000 people have been killed in the war in Donbass in Eastern Ukraine so far, according to UN data, while millions have been displaced.
(Banner image: Heiko Maas on Twitter)