August 25, 2019
Biarritz, France- Leaders of the Group of Seven major powers discussed a U.S. proposal to allow Russia to return to the summit framework, when they met in France on Saturday for three-day talks.
The G-7 leaders do not seem to reach a conclusion on the issue. They also exchanged views on Iran, agreeing to stop the country from acquiring nuclear weapons and pursue Middle East peace and stability.
The G-7 meeting in Biarritz, southwestern France, brought together leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union.
The three-day Biarritz summit talks opened with a dinner session after French President Emmanuel Macron, chair of this year's conference, received his G-7 counterparts.
The dinner session covered Iran, the Russian and Ukrainian situations and Amazon rainforest fires in South America.
U.S. President Donald Trump supports Russia's return to the summit framework, while G-7 European members say such a measure is too early.
The two sides are believed to have reiterated their views at the session. No detail of their discussions was disclosed.
Russia was removed from the summit framework, then called the Group of Eight, in 2014 after its annexation of Crimea in southern Ukraine.
On Saturday, G-7 leaders also expressed their opinions on the situation in Iran, which is at loggerheads with the United States.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo is seriously concerned about Iran's moves to enrich uranium to higher levels.
"Japan will continue to make diplomatic efforts patiently," Abe stressed.
Macron said nobody wants war. Other G-7 members responded by expressing support.
According to Japanese government officials, there was no discussion on a U.S.-proposed international coalition to protect commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
Macron raised the topic of Amazon rainforest fires. G-7 leaders broadly agreed to cooperate in stopping the fires and extending support for Brazil and neighboring countries.
Abe said Japan will consider assistance if necessary.
On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a G-7 summit debut.
North Korea's missile and nuclear development and issues related to China will be covered on the second or third day of the summit.
On Sunday, the G-7 members are set to discuss the world economy, rocked by escalating trade war between the United States and China.
They will also hold sessions focusing on inequality in education and employment, an issue to which France attaches importance, and measures to enhance cooperation with Africa.
Over Iran, the G-7 members are far from united.
The United States is stepping up pressure on the Middle East country after withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal unilaterally in May last year.
Meanwhile, Britain, Germany and France request that the 2015 deal among Iran and six major powers be maintained.
The G-7, traditionally a proponent of free trade, is also divided over trade.
The tit-for-tat tariff battle between the United States and China is a major downside risk to world economic growth.
But Trump is expected to keep justifying his protectionist policy measures.
The G-7 leaders are unlikely to adopt a joint declaration.
Japan and the United States set the planned meeting between Abe and Trump for Sunday morning. Main topics will be a bilateral trade deal and North Korea. Jiji Press
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