Kremlin has ‘more questions than answers’ on Donald Trump’s G7 invite

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Published: June 2, 2020 6:02 PM

Trump said Sunday that he’d like to invite leaders from Russia, Australia, India and South Korea to attend the G-7 meeting, calling the current setup “outdated.”

Trump also discussed Brazil’s participation in the G-7 meeting during a call with President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday, the Brazilian leader said in a Twitter post.Trump also discussed Brazil’s participation in the G-7 meeting during a call with President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday, the Brazilian leader said in a Twitter post.

The Kremlin has “more questions than answers” about Donald Trump’s proposal to invite Russia to a Group of Seven summit later this year, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a day after the U.S. president raised the idea with his Russian counterpart in a phone call.

“This is a format that Russia doesn’t participate in,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “If Russia is invited, then how will things be with the other participants?” Several other G-7 members and the EU publicly opposed the idea, noting that Russia was excluded from the group in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea.

Trump said Sunday that he’d like to invite leaders from Russia, Australia, India and South Korea to attend the G-7 meeting, calling the current setup “outdated.”

Trump also discussed Brazil’s participation in the G-7 meeting during a call with President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday, the Brazilian leader said in a Twitter post.

Western Opposition
The U.K. and Canada indicated they’d block an attempt to re-admit Russia to the group of advanced economies.

“Decisions on G-7 membership need to be made unanimously by all G-7 leaders,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman James Slack said Monday. “Russia was removed following its annexation of Crimea and we are yet to see evidence of its behavior that would justify its readmission.”

Russia should continue to be excluded from the G-7 due to its “disrespect and flaunting of international rules,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Brussels Tuesday Russia has failed to earn any return to the group.

“The prerogative of the G-7 chair, in this case the U.S., is to issue guest invitations and guest invitations reflect the host priorities,” he said. “But changing membership or changing the format on a permanent basis is not a prerogative.”

China, which wasn’t included among the potential attendees, also criticized Trump’s proposal.

”China has always maintained that international institutions or summits should be conducive to enhancing mutual trust, safeguarding multilateralism, and promoting world peace,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily media briefing in Beijing Tuesday. “We believe this is also the wish of most countries. It is unpopular to engage in small circles against China, and it is not in the interest of the relevant countries.”

Peskov said diplomats would work out the details of possible Russian participation. “There are a lot of unclear elements about this proposal,” he said.

Trump has postponed efforts to hold the summit in June at Camp David, saying it could be held in September or even after the presidential election in November. “So it might be a G-10, G-11, and it could be after the election is over,” Trump said.

–With assistance from Scott Rose, Walter Brandimarte, Jing Li and Jonathan Stearns.

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