G7: Zelensky to visit Japan, leaders expand sanctions on Russia

The first day of G7 summit mixed solemnity and firmness. This Friday, the leaders of seven of the most developed countries paid tribute to the victims of the American nuclear bombardment, on August 6, 1945, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima where the current summit is being held. They also extended the sanctions taken against Russia within the framework of the war it is waging against Ukraine.

The G7 unite the united states, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada. Added to this is the presence of the European Union. China, the world’s second largest economy, is absent from this discussion forum.

Memory of Hiroshima. The leaders gathered in front of places commemorating the horror of the atomic destruction. They were greeted one by one at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The Japanese leader wants to put nuclear disarmament on the agenda. The leaders laid wreaths at the Cenotaph in memory of the 140,000 people killed and toured the Peace Memorial Museum.

This moment of contemplation, however, should remain symbolic as the United States, the United Kingdom and France possess thousands of nuclear warheads and the other members of the G7, including Japan, are covered by the American “nuclear umbrella”. . Hopes for progress in disarmament are further dimmed by the context of heightened tensions with other nuclear powers such as Russia, North Korea and China.

European sanctions against Russian diamonds. The European Union will “limit the trade in Russian diamonds” as part of the sanctions against the invasion of Ukraine, announced the President of the European Council Charles Michel, present at the G7 summit in Hiroshima. “Russian diamonds are not forever,” he quipped to the press, referring to the title of one of the James Bond films. These precious stones annually bring several billion dollars to Russia.

British sanctions also but also in the mining sector. The UK has announced new sanctions against the Russian mining sector, targeting imports of aluminium, diamonds, copper and nickel, in a bid to restrict the ability of Moscow, the Russian capital, to finance the war. “As the sanctions announced today show, the G7 remains united in the face of the threat from Russia and firm in its support for Ukraine,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said. The United Arab Emirates, India and Belgium, which is a member of the European Union, are among the main importers of diamonds. The United States is also an important market for finished products.

American sanctions against “the Russian war machine”. Washington, the US capital, has announced “significant” new sanctions targeting the “Russian war machine”, a US official has said. They must prevent “approximately 70 entities in Russia and other countries from receiving American exported goods, by adding them to the Commerce Department’s blacklist”. More than 300 new sanctions will be taken against “individuals, organizations, ships and aircraft” across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Other G7 members are also preparing to “implement new export sanctions and barriers”.

The G7 is expected to work to disrupt Russian military supplies, close sanctions-busting loopholes, further reduce its dependence on Russian energy, continue to restrict Moscow’s access to the financial system internationally and to commit to freezing Russian ets until the end of the war.

Macron wants an “engaging and demanding” summit against China. French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Hiroshima in the morning. “This summit comes in a context of overlapping crises” with the war in Ukraine but also the “rise in tensions between China and the United States” or even climate change, underlined the French presidency.

Paris wants to make its little music heard on the positioning with regard to Beijing, the Chinese capital, calling on the Europeans not to align themselves with a confrontational approach cherished by Washington. “The negotiation was relatively easy. There were no strong oppositions between the members of the group, ”ured an adviser to Emmanuel Macron to journalists. “This G7 will not be a G7 of confrontation, it will be a G7 of cooperation and demanding with regard to China. According to this adviser, the leaders will “agree at the G7 to say that China” must “exercise its influence with Russia so that it puts an end to its aggression against Ukraine”.

In Japan for the G7 Summit.

For the victory of Ukraine and the return of a peace based on law.

For the solidarity that we owe to the peoples who fight against poverty.

To set an example and support our partners who are committed to the planet. pic.twitter.com/yvjDE5kAkZ

—Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 19, 2023

The French presidency also affirmed that the list of new entities to be sanctioned as part of the response to the Russian invasion is “completed” on the European side, in coordination with the other G7 countries. In particular, this time, it is a question of “limiting the circumvention of sanctions”.

Volodymyr Zelensky expected in person. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected in person at the G7 summit. But a last minute change is not excluded. The Ukrainian president has just completed a toured several European countries. The official G7 program initially provided for his intervention on Sunday by videoconference.

“Very important things will be decided on the spot, and therefore the presence in person of our president is absolutely essential to defend our interests,” said Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov. In Japan, he will be able to reiterate his request for combat aircraft to better oppose Russian troops, while European countries are beginning to discuss the possible delivery of American-made F-16s while returning the ball to Washington.

Zelensky is first expected this Friday at the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia. It is, according to a source interviewed by Reuters, in a French government plane that he will travel from Jeddah to Japan, where he is expected on Sunday.

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