The G7 summit in Brussels has closed with the US and UK reiterating calls for Russia to open talks with Ukraine’s new government or face further sanctions. Russia was notably absent after being suspended from the group.
US President Barack Obama has said the international community will be watching what Russian President Vladimir Putin does over the next “two, three, four weeks” in regards to the crisis in Ukraine.
Speaking Thursday at a joint press conference with Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron at the close of the G7 summit, Obama said Russia could expect “additional costs” if it remains on the “current course.”
The leaders of the Group of 7 had made a similar call in their joint statement issued on Wednesday evening. At Thursday’s press conference, Cameron said Putin must meet three conditions - recognize newly elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as the new leader in Kyiv, stop arms from crossing the border into Ukraine and cease support for pro-Russian separatist groups concentrated in eastern Ukraine.
President Putin was conspicuously absent from the summit, which had been originally scheduled to take place in the Russian resort town of Sochi. The group’s other members – the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Japan and Italy decided to suspend Russia from the G8 and re-label it the G7 in March, after Moscow annexed Crimea.
Several of the G7 leaders – including Obama, Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – are moving on from Brussels to France to attend Friday’s 70th anniversary of the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy.
French President Francois Hollande has hosted two separate dinners Thursday evening, one for Putin at the Elysee Palace, and earlier with Obama in a restaurant nearby.
After speculation whether Obama would meet privately with Putin during Friday’s events in France, he vaguely addressed the issue saying Thursday that he has “no doubt” he will “see” Putin during the commemorations. Cameron, meanwhile, met with Putin after arriving in Paris on Thursday.
hc/crh (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)