World G7 foreign ministers meet face-to-face after pandemic pause
Blinken in UK as G7 foreign ministers resume in-person talks
Britain this week hosts the first face-to-face meeting of G7 foreign ministers in two years, joined by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as world powers tackle pandemic recovery plus growing tensions with Russia and China. The Covid-secure gathering in London will prepare the ground for a G7 summit in southwest England next month, which will mark Joe Biden's inaugural visit to Europe as US president. Both events will also be joined by Indian leaders.
LONDON (AP) — Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy industrialized nations are gathering Tuesday in London - their first face-to-face meeting in more than two years - to grapple with threats to health, prosperity and democracy.
Host country Britain has warned that the increasingly aggressive activities of Russia, China and Iran pose a challenge to democratic societies and the international rule of law.
GB: First meeting of the G7 Foreign Ministers since the beginning of the
GB-G7-Affaire-Foreign pandemic: GB: First meeting of the G7 Foreign Ministers since the beginning of the pandemic © Reuters / Pool New GB: First Meeting of G7 Foreign Ministers Since the beginning of the London pandemic (Reuters) - Foreign Ministers of G7 member countries met in person in London on Monday for the first time from the beginning From the pandemic, the Chief of the British Dominic Raab diplomacy opening the ball with an interview with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain’s presidency of the G-7 this year “is an opportunity to bring together open, democratic societies and demonstrate unity at a time when it is much needed to tackle shared challenges and rising threats.”
Top diplomats from the U.K., the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are holding two days of talks with an agenda that includes the coup in Myanmar, the Tigray crisis in Ethiopia and the precarious situation in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops and their NATO allies are winding down a two-decade deployment.
G7 pushes solidarity to tackle global threats
G7 foreign ministers meet in London for their first face-to-face talks in more than two years on Tuesday, with calls for urgent joined-up action to tackle the most pressing global threats. China, Myanmar, Libya, Syria and Russia are all on the formal agenda as the ministers from the club of wealthy democracies prepare for a leaders' meeting in Cornwall, southwest England, next month. They will also discuss violence in Ethiopia, Iran and North Korea, Somalia, the Sahel and western Balkans, as part of what London said were "pressing geopolitical issues that threaten to undermine democracy, freedoms and human rights".
The U.K. Foreign Office said the group would also discuss “Russia’s ongoing malign activity,” including Moscow's troop buildup on the border with Ukraine and the imprisonment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
G-7 ministers will also try to agree on a way to make coronavirus vaccines available around the globe. Wealthy countries have been reluctant to give up precious stocks until they have inoculated their own populations.
Organizers have taken steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the London meeting, including setting up plastic screens between participants and making on-site coronavirus tests available.
India's foreign minister out of G-7 meeting over COVID risk
LONDON (AP) — India’s foreign minister pulled out of in-person meetings at a Group of Seven gathering in London on Wednesday because of possible exposure to the coronavirus. Diplomats from the G-7 group of wealthy nations are holding their first face-to-face gathering in two years, with social distancing and other measures in place to curb the spread of the virus. Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar tweeted that he was “made aware yesterday evening of exposure to possible Covid positive cases. As a measure of abundant caution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in the virtual mode.
The British government invited the foreign ministers of Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa to join parts of the meeting, including a Tuesday dinner at the grand Lancaster House in central London. The guest list was intended to underline the G-7’s support for democracies, as well as the U.K. government’s attempts to build stronger ties with Asia in the wake of the country’s departure from the European Union.
The government hopes the resumption of in-person G-7 meetings — after more than a year of disruption by the coronavirus pandemic — will give the group a jolt of energy and bolster attempts to forge a post-Brexit “Global Britain” role for the U.K.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to host the other G-7 leaders at a summit in Cornwall, England, in June.
Opposition politicians and international aid organizations say the goal of Britain playing a bigger role in world affairs is undermined by the government's decision to slash its foreign aid budget from 0.7% of gross domestic product to 0.5% because of the economic hit from the pandemic.
Raab said Monday that the aid cuts were a “difficult decision” but insisted Britain would become “an even greater force for good in the world.”
Raab met Monday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is due to hold talks with Johnson on Tuesday.
The U.S. and Britain both dismissed reports coming out of Iran that they are thrashing out a prisoner exchange deal with Tehran that could see the imminent release of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and four Americans.
Blinken said “the reports coming out of Tehran are not accurate.”
EU talks up support for Afghanistan as security declines .
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union foreign ministers on Monday debated ways to maintain support for Afghanistan’s beleaguered government after a brutal weekend attack on a girls' school underscored deep concern that violence will spread as U.S.-led troops leave the country. With the departure of foreign troops just a few months away, European governments are still trying to work out what kind of diplomatic presence they will keep in Afghanistan and who will provide security for them. They are particularly reluctant to be perceived as abandoning the country.