Russia Needs to Help End Ukraine Conflict to Rejoin G7, Steinmeier Says
Russia’s return to the group of leading industrialised nations hinges on its assistance to efforts to put an an end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said.
Speaking ahead of the start of a two-day meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers in Luebeck, northern Germany, Steinmeier said on Tuesday Russia needs to work to help create "the conditions" that would enable it to return to the group of global powers, according to DPA.
These conditions include Moscow’s help in ensuring the "Ukraine conflict moves closer to a solution," Steinmeier said.
The leaders of the G7 (Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, the United States and Japan) decided to exclude Russia from the Group of Eight (G8) following the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region by Moscow in March of last year.
"I have absolutely no interest in isolating Russia in the long term," DPA quoted Steinmeier as saying. "I am convinced that Russia‘s return to the G8 would improve the conditions for international working relationships."
Steinmeier also criticized Russia's decision to lift the ban on delivery of S-300 air defence missile system to Iran, saying negotiators from world powers are "in the middle of a process" of trying to hammer out a final deal with Tehran over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Under a final agreement expected to be drafted by end-June, Tehran is expected to commit to not producing weapons-grade nuclear fuel in exchange for the lifting of crippling nuclear-related economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the US and the EU.
In addition to Ukraine and Iran, the G7 foreign ministers are also expected to discuss Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies have been carrying out airstrikes to stem the advance by Houthi rebels who are seeking to take over the country.
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