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Russia Never Begged for Reinstatement of G8 Group – Foreign Minister

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia has never begged to be invited back to the Group of Eight (G8) of the world's most advanced economies and is working well in other negotiating formats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday.

On Friday, the leaders of the G7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States — kicked off their annual two-day summit in Quebec. The group used to be called the G8 before Russia's membership was suspended in 2014 after the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis. On Friday, US President Donald Trump told reporters the G7 should allow Russia to rejoin the group to revive the G8. Trump said the G7 has a "world to run," and Russia should be at the negotiating table.

"[Russia has] never begged to come back. When our Western partners made the decision to not participate in the G8 anymore by returning to the G7 format, we took it as their decision. And we are working perfectly in other formats, such as the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization], BRICS, and especially the G20, where our partners share our approaches," Lavrov stated on Russia's Channel One broadcaster.

The foreign minister also stressed that the G20 was the most promising format, as it was a platform for finding a consensus.

"Ultimatums do not work within the G20, negotiations are required there. The G20 is a mechanism for reaching consensus. I believe it is the most promising option for the future," he said.

READ MORE: Kremlin on Trump's Call for Russia's G8 Return: We Are Focused on Other Formats

The G20 comprises 20 of the world’s leading economies: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as the European Union. This global forum aims at developing global policies in order to address the most pressing issues of today.

Meanwhile on Saturday, US President Donald Trump said that some of the G7 countries spoke in favor of Russia’s return to the format, and he personally believed that the G8 would be more meaningful for the world.

"It has been discussed. We did not vote [on the issue], but it has been discussed. Some people like the idea of bringing Russia back. And it used to be the G8, not the G7," Trump told reporters after the G7 summit in Quebec.

A photojournalist takes pictures of the G7 sign before the start of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman - Sputnik International
Trump's Idea to Revive G8 May Become Reality in Long Term, Not Immediate Future
The president noted that Moscow’s return would an asset for both Russia and all the G7 countries.

"I think it would be an asset to have Russia back in, it would be good for the world. I think it would be good for Russia, I think it would be good for 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, I think having Russia back in would be a positive thing. We are looking for peace in the world, we are not looking to play games," he added.

The idea of restoring Group of Eight (G8) format with Russia's participation will be restored was also supported by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

"One of the topics that was discussed was Russia. Italy always shares the position of dialogue, which does not mean the lifting of sanctions any day now. This system is linked to the Minsk agreements that are still in the process of implementation. Time is needed to achieve this result," Conte told reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Canada.

"However, we told all our partners, including the European ones, that having Russia in isolation, given that it plays a central role in the most delicate geopolitical crises, does not suit anyone. So Italy's personal hope is [to restore] the previous G8 format with Russia's participation," he said.

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