When asked by a reporter on Tuesday whether Russia should be invited back into the G7, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that US President Donald Trump "thinks that’s what we should do", adding that "of course, we’re going to work towards that end".
Trump suggested readmitting Russia to what used to be G8 at the G7 Summit in France this month. His country will host the next gathering, possibly at a Trump resort in Miami.
According to US-based media reports, Trump clashed with other G7 leaders during a private dinner on the opening night of the summit in France as he lobbied for Russia's readmission to the organization. In particular, CNN and The Washington Post reported that the US president received significant pushback from other attendees during a dinner, adding that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were among those most opposed to the idea.
During a Monday news conference that followed the summit, Trump said that Russia’s return to the G7 would benefit both global economy and security and declared that he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the group’s next summit in 2020.
Putin said earlier that Moscow regarded any contact with G7 nations as useful. But Merkel tied Russia's return to the group to progress in the Ukrainian peace process. Russia was expelled from the group in 2014 after being accused of an alleged role in the war in eastern Ukraine, which Moscow has consistently denied.
Commenting on the possibility of Russia’s return to the G7, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that while it was not a stated goal, Putin favored a normalization of ties with all G7 members.
The G7 accused Moscow of interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs and introduced sanctions on Russia as a result.
Recently, more members of the Western political establishment have reportedly begun questioning the wisdom of antagonizing Russia and refusing mutually beneficial cooperation.
The G7 is now composed of the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada.