(Bloomberg) — President Emmanuel Macron said Russia can’t return to the top table of global politics until there has been more progress in Ukraine.
As he prepared to welcome leaders of the Group of Seven nations to France this weekend, Macron said he would like to return to the so-called G-8 format, that saw Russia join the world’s leading developed economies, but President Vladimir Putin first needs to comply with the terms of the Minsk peace accord on Ukraine.
“I do not want Russia to be reintegrated without conditions,” Macron said at a meeting with the Presidential Press Association. “No weakness.”
G-8 meetings have reverted to a G-7 format since 2014 when Russia was excluded from the group in protest at its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine. As U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders prepare for this year’s summit in Biarritz, France, from Saturday, the issue of Russia’s return has cropped up again.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the U.K.’s Boris Johnson both echoed Macron’s stance at a joint briefing in Berlin.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that it would be “much more appropriate” if Russia was reincorporated into the meetings and Macron hosted Putin in Paris Monday, suggesting he was being drawn into the orbit of the G-7 talks.
Macron said that he discussed western concerns about Russia’s nuclear missile program with Putin and the Russian leader suggested that it might be possible to prevent Europe becoming the focus of another arms race. Putin offered not to deploy new missiles to Europe so long as the U.S. agrees to do the same, Macron said.
The issue will also be raised at the G-7 and that new international talks need to include China as well as Russia.
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