European members of the G7 unanimously oppose US President Donald Trump’s call for Russia to be readmitted into the club, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said Friday.
Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May and new Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte agreed on a common stance on Russia during talks together on the sidelines of the G7 summit, which is taking place in Canada between June 8 and June 9.
“The common European position is against the return of Russia,” one senior aide to Macron told reporters, although the leaders did leave open “the possibility of establishing dialogue” with Moscow.
Conte, who is attending his first summit, had earlier indicated that he was in favour of Trump’s proposal to welcome Russia back into the organisation after it was banned following its annexing of Crimea in 2014.
May — whose government has accused Russia of being behind the poisoning of a former spy in Britain earlier this year — said that the G7 had to be convinced that Moscow had changed.
“We have always been clear that we should engage with Russia. The phrase I’ve used is: engage but beware,” she told Britain’s Sky News.
“Let’s remember why the G8 became the G7.”
‘Very cordial’ Macron-Trump meeting
Europeans are similarly united in defending trade rules and the Paris climate change agreement against Trump’s policies, a source close to the French president told Reuters on Friday.
At a meeting of European leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed the creation of an evaluation and dialogue mechanism with the United States on trade issues, in an attempt to solve the current crisis and prevent others, the source added.
For his part, Macron had “a very cordial” discussion with Trump on trade and North Korea at the start of the summit, another Élysée Palace source told Reuters.
“We will always engage in dialogue and try and convince people to defend France’s interests – and those of everyone else who believes that working together is the only solution,” Macron wrote on Twitter while sharing a short video of the meeting.
Before the summit, on Thursday, Macron said on Twitter: “The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be.”