Trump renews calls for Russian inclusion in G7

G7 Donald Trump speaking at Arlington National Cemetery. Image still courtesy of Whitehouse.gov

Eight nations would be far better than seven, according to Donald Trump. But when that additional country is Russia, and he is discussing membership in the G7 group, you can be sure that his opinion is going to raise some eyebrows.

Seven of the most powerful nations on earth met over the weekend in Canada for the annual G7 summit. But according to Donald Trump, there was one more country that should have been invited.

“I think it would be an asset to have Russia back in,” Trump said during an impromptu press conference at the summit. “I think it would be good for the world. I think it would be good for Russia. I think it would be good the United States. I think it would be good for all of the countries of the current G7. I think the G8 would be better.”

The comments mark the second time Trump has called for Russia’s reinstatement into the group since Friday, with other member states not taking favourably to the suggestion.

On Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he told Trump that asking Russia to rejoin the G7 is “not something we are even remotely looking at.”

Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference Friday that there was consensus that Russia should not return to the G7.

“We agree that a return by Russia to the G7 format cannot happen as long as there isn’t any substantial progress in regard to the problems with Ukraine. That was the common view,” she said.

The G7 is comprised of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan, and Germany. These countries contain the seven largest advanced economies in the world and represent more than 62 per cent of the global net wealth ($280 trillion)

Russia had been a member of the group until 2014, when it was suspended after the majority of member countries allied against its annexation of Crimea. Four years later and Russia’s occupation of the disputed territory continues.

Nonetheless, Trump maintained his view that Russia be allowed back into the global group.

“I would say that the G8 is a more meaningful group than the G7, absolutely,” he said.

Besides the Russia recommendation, this weekend’s G7 summit in Quebec was notable for a viral photograph of the world leaders snapped by Jesco Denzel. It shows Merkel, hands planted on the table, staring down Trump as he sits with his arms crossed, surrounded by other world leaders and dignitaries, including the unimpressed-looking Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The image has been compared to a Renaissance painting, with one outlet even saying it perfectly captured the state of current world affairs: it’s Trump versus the world. Imagine if Putin had been in the photo too, then?

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