G7 FMs’ had “productive, useful” exchange on foreign policy priorities

WASHINGTON, A senior US administration official affirmed that the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers had a “productive and useful exchange on a range of foreign policy priorities” during their first day of meetings in Toronto, Canada.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters during a background briefing in Toronto following the first day of meetings, that the US “emphasized three areas, specifically North Korea, Syria, and Russia.” The official affirmed that on Russia, there was a G7 “unity on opposing Russia’s malign behavior, and the nations reviewed the steps that they have taken to counter the negative trends emerging from the Kremlin that threaten peace and security.” Regarding Syria, the official noted that the ministers “recalled that Russia is the guarantor of chemical weapons in Syria and have failed in that role.” The official added that “there was broad support for the Geneva process and strengthening it as much as possible as the best way to wind down the civil war and promote a political solution.” As for the April 13, allied strike, the official stressed that it was “not a one-off but was part of a sustained allied campaign to re-establish the deterrent against chemical weapons, and that includes using military means again, if necessary.” On North Korea, the official stressed that Pyongyang’s suspension of nuclear tests “is welcome news, and it’s also consistent with North Korea’s previous promise to the US in March.” “We said that we will not make the same mistakes of the past because the incremental, phased approaches of previous negotiations have all failed. We are looking for substantial dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear programs first, and until denuclearization is achieved the global maximum pressure campaign will continue,” the official remarked.

Furthermore, the official said that the G7 ministers discussed “the range of Iran’s malign activities, they discussed Iran’s ballistic missile program and how that is unacceptable, and they also discussed the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and the efforts to seek a supplemental agreement by the E3 and the United States.” The official noted that President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron “will naturally be discussing Iran’s nuclear program,” during Macron’s visit to Washington, especially “because France is part of the negotiations to reach a supplemental agreement.” “They will also be discussing the broad and vast range of Iran’s destabilizing initiatives across the Middle East,” the official added. The G-7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting offers an opportunity for foreign ministers “to exchange views and collaborate on global political and security issues of mutual concern, including counterterrorism, non-proliferation, North Korea, and Syria,” according to the State Department.

These conversations will set the stage for the G-7 Leaders’ Summit in Charlevoix, Canada, in June. The G7 is made up of the US, Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Japan.

Source: Kuwait News Agency