11:28 Aug. 31, 2016
G7 could start cooperating with Moscow if Donbas conflict is settled and Syria ceasefire is reached
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has reiterated that Russia should be returned to the G8 group of states, but it depends on the country's role in settling conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
"The conflicts in Syria and Ukraine show that it is in our interest not to exclude Russia from the close cooperation of the major economies," Steinmeier said in an interview to the German RND.
But he stressed that the ‘key to the return to the G8 format is in Moscow."
Germany's top diplomat added that when the substantial progress in the settling of eastern Ukraine conflict is reached, and the comprehensive ceasefire in Syria is negotiated, the G7 partners will be ready to talk with Moscow.
Leaders from the Group of Seven States – Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - brought Russia into their exclusive club in 1998. Moscow's membership was suspended in 2014 after Russian troops invaded Ukraine's Crimea region.
Steinmeier also commented on his recent call for a new arms control deal with Moscow.
"Of course, the talks with Russia are currently difficult," Steinmeier said. "No one denies that Russia had violated the basic principles of the peace in Europe by the annexation of Crimea and its actions in eastern Ukraine," he went to say.
"But precisely in such situation, when the trust is broken, we should be interested in avoiding further escalation. Restarting arms control deal is not a concession to Russia, it is in the interest of the whole Europe."