BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The Group of Seven (G7) leaders' annual summit will start on Friday in the Sicily's town of Taormina with heads of states and governments expected to discuss key global political and economic issues.
Taormina was firstly announced as the possible hosting town of the 2017 summit of the leaders of Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States in May 2016 by then Italian Foreign Minister Matteo Renzi. The final decision to hold the summit in Taormina was confirmed by Renzi in late October 2016.
The summit will also be attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric. European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will also take part in the summit.
The upcoming Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy will be the "most challenging" in years, Tusk added.
"We are meeting here in Taormina of the G7 to discuss the most pressing global issues. There is no doubt that this will be the most challenging G7 summit in years," Tusk said in opening the briefing.
A high-ranking source in the German delegation to the G7 summit told Sputnik that participants of the meeting would discuss their policy toward Russia, particularly, the possibility of work with Russia on a partnership basis "if Russia respects the global international order."
According to an EU source, the bloc expects the G7 leaders to reaffirm their position on the West's anti-Russian sanctions introduced in 2014 over the alleged Russian role in the Ukrainian conflict.
"I expect that the G7 will demonstrate unity regarding the conflict in Ukraine," Tusk told reporters. "Since our last G7 summit in Japan, we have not seen anything that would justify a change in our sanctions policy toward Russia."
He said he "will appeal to the other G7 leaders to reconfirm this policy."