G7 ministers hope to seal commitments on global challenges
Diplomats from G7 countries walked side-by-side to project a united front before a working lunch.
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven advanced economies hoped to seal joint commitments on a range of global challenges as they met for a second day in the French seaside resort of Dinard.
Diplomats from G7 countries, comprising the US, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and the UK, walked side-by-side to project a united front before a working lunch.
They aim to agree on a joint statement on the fight against trafficking drugs, arms and migrants in Africa’s troubled Sahel region, fighting cyber-crime and stopping sexual violence against women in conflict zones, especially in Africa.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was missing from the group photo after attending Friday’s session, as was US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
US officials also said that points of discord will be discussed at the talks led by the host, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
US Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan said that Washington will use the G7 forum to galvanise support for Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who the US has backed to lead the country into a “democratic transformation from the failed regime” of President Nicolas Maduro.
Mr Guaido has embarked on an international campaign to topple the socialist administration of Venezuela’s president amid deepening unrest in the country, which has been plagued by nearly a month of power outages.
Washington seems to be at odds with Italy over its stance on the crisis-hit South American country, being the sole G7 member state not to back Mr Guaido.
The US and Canada have pursued a pro-active stance on widening support for Mr Guaido, according to French officials. But there has already been widespread alarm after Mr Guaido was stripped of immunity by Maduro loyalists earlier this week.
“With Juan Guaido being stripped of his immunity… we don’t want the situation to escalate,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Dinard on Saturday.
“We are still of the opinion that free elections should take place during which Venezuelans can decide themselves who will lead the country,” he added.
Italy has also irked EU and US allies by becoming the first G7 member to sign up to a contentious Chinese plan to build a Silk Road-style global trade network, the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.