- President Donald Trump says Russia should be readmitted to the G7.
- His comment came Friday before he headed to Canada for the group’s latest meeting.
- “And in the G7, which used to be the G8 – they threw Russia out – they should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,” Trump said.
- Russia was kicked out of what was then the G8 in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea.
President Donald Trump on Friday said Russia should be readmitted to the G7 group of leading industrial nations.
“Russia should be in this meeting – why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting?” Trump said before departing from the White House for the G7 summit in Canada. “I would recommend, and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting.”
Russia was removed from what was then the G8 in 2014 over its annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. The group’s other members and other Western countries universally condemned the move, hitting Russia with rounds of punishing sanctions.
Trump said that while he had “been Russia’s worst nightmare,” the country should be invited to the international summit to be “at the negotiating table.”
“Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” the president said. “And in the G7, which used to be the G8 – they threw Russia out – they should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
Italy’s new prime minster, Giuseppe Conte, agreed with Trump’s take. Conte said in a tweet that the move would be “in everyone’s interest.”
But Russia appeared to turn down Trump’s suggestion.
“Russia is focused on other formats, apart from G7,” said Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman.
Trump is heading into a hostile G7 meeting as the other members of the group – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK – are set to take the president to task over the president’s new steel and aluminium tariffs.
Reports indicated Trump was reluctant to attend the meeting because of the likelihood he would face attacks from the other world leaders. The president already appears to have cut short the visit to Canada, changing his schedule to leave Saturday morning rather than staying the full two days of the summit.
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