Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is rejecting Donald Trump’s latest proposal to readmit Russia to the G7.
The American president was to host the G7 summit later this month but has postponed it to the fall because of the mass protests rocking the United States, and he has mused that he would like to see Russia, India, South Korea and Australia added to what he calls a “very outdated” group of countries.
Trudeau said Monday that nothing has changed since the G7 ejected Russia from what was then the G8 in 2014, over its annexation of territory from Ukraine.
“Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago. And its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7, and will continue to remain out,” the prime minister said.
This isn’t the first time Trump has mused about bringing Russia back to the G7 — he made similar comments two years ago on the eve of a leaders’ summit that Trudeau hosted in Charlevoix, Que.
That summit ended in disarray with Trump hurling insults at Trudeau over Twitter after he departed Charlevoix. Canada and the U.S. were mired in contentious renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement at the time, and Trudeau reiterated his opposition to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs at the summit’s closing press conference. Trump was bound for a historic summit in North Korea when he heard them.
Late last month, Trump and White House officials were considering the idea of holding an in-person G7 summit near Washington.
Trudeau said then that in-person G7 meetings leaders are more effective than the virtual alternative, but he said he wanted to make sure the U.S. had plans to deal with the health risks posed by COVID-19.
“We’ve always been working with the United States to co-ordinate when we can hold this important G7 meeting. It’s really important to keep holding these meetings and co-ordinating internationally in this time of crisis,” Trudeau said Monday.
The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the U.S., with the presidency rotating annually among member countries. The European Union is also a member.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.
Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press