Medvedev dismisses McCain's call for Russia to be ousted from G8

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Russia's president has said that United States presidential candidate John McCain's pledge to seek Russia's expulsion from the G8 if elected was not a serious statement.
MOSCOW, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president has said that United States presidential candidate John McCain's pledge to seek Russia's expulsion from the G8 if elected was not a serious statement.

Russia joined the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in 1997, resulting in the G8. Medvedev will represent Russia for the first time at the forum's summit in Hokkiado, Japan, on July 7-9.

"As far as I know, recently no one has been saying this. It is perfectly clear that any calls to expel Russia or to pressure Russia are simply not serious," Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with G8 media on Thursday, in response to a reporter's question on McCain's comments.

In October last year, Republican candidate McCain said the G8 should become "a club of leading market democracies: It should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia." He cited "diminishing political freedoms, a leadership dominated by a clique of former intelligence officers, [and] efforts to bully democratic neighbors" in Russia.

Medvedev said the G8 exists "not because anyone likes or dislikes it, but because it has objectively the largest economies and the most important players in terms of foreign policy."

Attempts to restrict the group would damage the world order, he said.

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