G7 Ministers Meet On Russia, North Korea Threats
The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations met in Toronto yesterday seeking a common front against what they see as aggression from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The envoys were also keen to glean clues from their United States colleague about whether President Donald Trump will tear up the Iran nuclear deal and how he will handle a planned summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
The ministers from the world’s most powerful democracies are meeting to plan for June’s G7 summit of rich-world leaders in Charlevoix, Quebec but Russia and North Korea will never be far from their minds.
Canada’s Chrystia Freeland, opened the meeting with a gathering to honor female foreign ministers and was later to host her G7 colleagues plus the European Union’s representative at a working lunch to discuss the crisis in Russia and Ukraine.
Acting US Secretary of State John Sullivan’s first bilateral meeting was with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, and he “reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.”
G7 capitals are also worried about Russia’s role in supporting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime in his country’s brutal civil war and alleged attempt to kill a defector with a nerve agent on British soil.
The foreign ministers issued a joint statement urging the Kremlin to address “all questions related to the incident” and to make a “full and complete disclosure of its previously undeclared Novichok program.”
Novichok is a group of deadly chemical compounds reportedly developed by the Soviet government in the 1970s and 80s and which Britain suspects was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March.
After their lunch, the ministers also held a meeting on North Korea and nuclear non-proliferation. Last month, in one of the most surprising twists in world affairs for decades, Trump accepted an invitation from Pyongyang’s eccentric autocrat Kim to a summit to discuss to discuss his nuclear disarmament