The heads of foreign affairs of the Group of Seven (G7) at a plenary meeting in London on Tuesday spent an hour and a half to discuss the Russian Federation and China, sessions on the situations in Myanmar, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan took 30 minutes each. This was announced to reporters at a briefing by a high-ranking State Department spokesman.
“We started at 08:45 am [10:45 Moscow time], there was an hour and a half discussion of China, then there were small sessions – 30 minutes each – in Myanmar, Libya, Syria, an hour and 30 minutes – in Russia, including <…> Ukraine and Belarus, 30 minutes across Afghanistan,” the American official said. The briefing transcript was distributed by the press service of the State Department.
Later, during a briefing, a State Department official noted that China was the “dominant topic” of the meeting. “We started with it because it was the most important item on the agenda for us. <…> As I said, there was mutual agreement that we all want the PRC to be an integral member of the international order, but in order to do this, it must play by the rules of this international order. <…> There was also a lot of concern about China’s behavior in [respecting] human rights. <…> There was also a lot of concern about China’s economic coercion. <… > And, of course, China’s threatening and aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and other areas around its borders,” the diplomat explained.
On the sidelines of the G7 ministerial meeting, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also held a number of bilateral meetings. “At each bilateral meeting, we went over different sub-topics, for example, Ukraine. <…> We all agree and solidarity with Ukraine regarding Russian aggression, which is an external threat that they [Ukrainians] face, as well as [are] an internal threat facing them from corruption and problems in advancing the reform process, “another State Department official said during a briefing.
“As for Russia, the Secretary of State was able to emphasize what he and [US President Joe Biden] [earlier] said that we want a stable and predictable relationship with Russia. <…> As you have seen, we received strong support from the outside partners and allies in terms of our reaction to Russia’s actions,” he added. According to the American official, Washington does not seek to escalate relations with Russia, but will “respond to <…> reckless and aggressive behavior.”
At the meetings, among other things, issues related to Afghanistan and Iran were also discussed.
The G7 foreign ministers gathered in the British capital on Tuesday for their first face-to-face plenary meeting in two years.
The Group of Seven is an association of economically developed countries, which includes Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, USA, France and Japan. The club existed in the “seven” format from 1976 to 1997. After the annexation of Russia, it became known as the G8. In March 2014, as a result of the events in Ukraine and the ensuing crisis in relations between the United States and Europe with Russia, the Western members of the association decided to return to the G7 format.