THE HAGUE: Leaders of the Group of Seven have suspended participation of their respective countries in the Group of Eight, says a statement that the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.S. issued here Monday night upon the end of an informal summit.
The G7 leaders claim that “this Group came together because of share beliefs and shared responsibilities” but “Russia’s actions in recent weeks” (support for the Crimeans’ referendum on self-determination and reunification with Russia) allegedly are not consistent with them.
“We will suspend our participation in the G-8 until Russia changes course and the environment comes back to where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion and will meet again in G-7 format at the same time as planned, in June 2014, in Brussels, to discuss the broad agenda we have together,” the statement says. “We have also advised our Foreign Ministers not to attend the April meeting in Moscow.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier Monday there was no need to over-dramatize the decision of the seven countries’ leaders.
“The G8 is an informal club of countries and it has never written out any membership certificates, and that’s why no one can expel anyone else from it exactly for this reason,” he told a news conference after talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
“The G8’s mission is over, and many people do think it is, because all the economic and financial problems are now discussed in the Group of Twenty since the emergence of the latter group,” he said.
“The G8 had sense as a floor for discussions between the leading Western nations and Russia for the most part,” Lavrov said. PNA