LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Top diplomats from the Group of Seven industrialized nations met on Saturday in Liverpool to negotiate over Russia’s military buildup near the border with Ukraine and what host Britain called “malign behaviour. ideas” of Moscow around the world.
The UK called for a “show of solidarity against global aggressors” as it welcomed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other G-7 foreign ministers amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis and tensions with China. China and Iran.
“We need to defend ourselves against growing threats from hostile parties,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said at the opening of a meeting of foreign ministers from Britain, the US, Canada, France, Germany and Italy. and Japan. “And we need strong cooperation to stand up to aggressors who seek to limit the limits of freedom and democracy.”
The United States and its NATO allies fear that the transfer of Russian troops and weapons to the border area with Ukraine could be a prelude to an invasion and have vowed to impose heavy sanctions on the Russian economy if that happens.
Moscow denies any plan to attack Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own alleged aggressive designs.
A senior US official involved in the discussions on Saturday said G-7 ministers were united in their “extreme concern” about developments on the Russia-Ukraine border. The official said the ministers were greedy that any Russian invasion of Ukraine would be met with “major consequences and heavy costs” from the G-7.
The official did not elaborate on what those consequences might be but said they would be implemented “very, very quickly” if Russia did not heed the denial warnings.
The US and its allies have downplayed talk of a military response to protect Ukraine, with efforts focused on tough sanctions that will affect the Russian economy, rather than just individuals.
In the US, reporters asked President Joe Biden on Saturday about the possibility of sending combat troops to Ukraine, and he said the idea was never considered. “Are you ready to send American troops into the war and go into Ukraine to fight the Russians on the battlefield?”
Biden said he made it clear to Putin that in the event of an invasion, “the economic consequences for his economy would be devastating.
European Union foreign affairs director Josep Borrell, who also attended the two-day conference, said the ministers were determined to “make Russia understand that anything could represent an attack on Ukraine.” All will pay dearly.”
Getting a unified response from the G-7, a group of countries with divergent interests, is often tough. Germany plans to soon receive gas from Russia via the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which passes through Ukraine. Britain, which is not dependent on Russian gas, has generally taken a tougher stance on the pipeline – but faces conundrums about London’s financial district and property market, both both are Russian money-making centers.
Truss said she wants to work with other countries “to make sure that liberal democracies can have an alternative to Russian gas supplies.” She met on the sidelines of the meeting with Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, a Greens politician who had previously opposed Nord Stream 2.
Along with efforts to agree on tough sanctions should Russia invade, efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis appear to be accelerating. The US State Department announced Saturday that the top US diplomat for Europe, Karen Donfried, will visit both Kyiv and Moscow next week “to reinforce the US commitment to sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and seek a solution. After that, Donfried will travel to Brussels to speak with NATO allies and the European Union.
China’s muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region and the ailing Iran nuclear deal are also on the agenda for the weekend meeting at the Liverpool Pier Museum.
The meeting is taking place as negotiators meet in Vienna to try to restore an international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Blinken met with German, French and British diplomats in Liverpool to discuss next steps on Iran, and the Biden administration’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, also stopped in the city en route. Vienna.
Truss warned this week that the Vienna talks were “the last chance for Iran to re-register” the deal, which was intended to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief. .
Truss also invited ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Liverpool’s meeting, although many are participating remotely because of the pandemic. Delegates and journalists faced daily virus tests and wore masks at the conference, as Britain recorded more cases of the omicron virus variant, which scientists say will become become the dominant strain in the UK within the next week or so.
Britain wants to work more closely with Asian nations as part of an “Indo-Pacific tilt” following the UK’s departure from the 27-nation European Union last year – both to promote Britain’s trade push was both a counterweight to China’s dominance.
Truss told her G-7 counterparts that democracies need to resist “economic coercion” and “win the battle of technology” – both referring to growing influence. Beijing’s growth globally. The G-7 launched the “Rebuilding a Better World” initiative to provide developing countries with funding for major infrastructure projects as an alternative to money from China, which the West argues, often comes with constraints.
However, a unified stance toward China continues to prove elusive, with the US and UK generally more hawkish than other G-7 members.
The UK has chosen a backdrop steeped in British history and culture for its last meeting of the year as the G-7 chair. Liverpool’s docks, once a symbol of Britain’s global reach and economic might, represent the country’s post-industrial decline, but now the area along the River Mersey is an example. epitomize urban renewal of the 21st century.
The museum dedicated to the city’s most famous sons, The Beatles Story Museum, is host to the G-7 ministers dinner on Saturday night. Delegates were selected by cover band Fab Four before eating a locally sourced meal during a recreation of Liverpool’s famed Cavern Club, where the band played many of Liverpool’s early gigs me.