16:58 GMT25 September 2020
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    The leading figures of Germany’s opposition parties voice their wish to restore the G8 format during the upcoming G7 summit in Canada for a better dialogue with Moscow. The group shrunk to seven members in 2014, after Russia was excluded from annual meetings for the reunification of Crimea with Russia.

    Politicians from the liberal Free Democratic Party and the left-wing Die Linke have made public their desire to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the upcoming G7 summit of the leading industrial nations, set to take place in June.

    "If the Western countries really want to resume a constructive dialogue with Russia, this [G7 summit] would be a convenient opportunity. G7 should become G8 again," said fraction chief of Die Linke, Sahra Wagenknecht, cited by the German news agency DPA.

    The FDP’s deputy fraction chief, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, also backed the idea of returning to the “G7 + 1” format.

    "It makes sense to normalize and structure the dialogue with Russia. The 'G7+1' would be the right format for it," said he to the news agency.

    Both politicians also noted that Russia’s foreign minister should have been invited to the meeting of his counterparts from the G7 countries, which has already started in Toronto, Canada. Such ministerial talks have been ongoing since 1975 and have become a traditional discussion format. Bringing back Russia to the G7 table is needed all the more during the summit of the countries’ leaders.

    “At least by the summit [of G7 leaders], Russia must sit at the table again. Peace in Europe as well as in the Middle East is only possible with Russian assistance," said Wagenknecht.

    At the same Lambsdorff noted that Russia should be present at the summit, saying, "If you say that Russia should be there again, this applies to all levels, including the summit meetings."

    READ MORE: G7 Summit Losing Relevance After Sidelining Russia, China

    The G7 summit will take place June 8-9 in Charlevoix, Canada. Meanwhile, according to Reuters, the G7 countries plan to stick to a tough course on Russia. After the negotiations of G7 foreign ministers started on April 22, Global Affairs Canada cited Canada’s top diplomat, who said on Twitter that the G7 wants to maintain pressure on Russia.

    ​However, according to an unnamed senior State Department official, cited by the agency, the G7 group is still open to a dialogue.

    “There was G7 unity on opposing Russia’s malign behavior. There was also openness among G7 members to dialogue with Russia while we hold them accountable for their malign activities and their efforts to destabilize nations,” the official said to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

    A final statement, which is to be issued later on April 23, would reportedly maintain an uncompromising line with Moscow.


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