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Donald Trump’s attitude to Vladimir Putin could continue to be a bone of contention between the US President and other major allies. The American leader has called for the next G7 summit to take place after the US election in November and also for the Russian President to attend. The Times’ Washington Correspondent, Henry Zeffman, spoke to Times Radio about why this row could be replicated on the world stage.
He told listeners: “It’s unclear if this is ever going to happen really.
“The US holds the rotating presidency of this club of powerful democracies during the year of 2020.
“The summit was meant to be in June. Understandably because of coronavirus it got moved to a teleconference.
“But Trump said that he wanted it to happen in person and signed up various world leaders.”
Mr Zeffman continued: “All of them apart from Angela Merkel were onboard, including Boris Johnson, for a delayed summit in July.
“But just a few days before it was meant to happen he said to some reporters the G7 was meaningless and that other countries needed to be there.
“He said he wanted to invite Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Australia, South Africa and India.
“That obviously defies the point of the G7 even though there are usually invited guests.”
The journalist added: “At this point, various leaders, including Boris Johnson again, said, ‘no, absolutely not, we will not countenance a G7 summit which Vladimir Putin attends’.
“But last night Trump said he wants the G7 to take place, and he thinks it would be very important for Putin to be there.
“So just expect that same row to be replicated once again just a little bit further down the track.”
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Russia was kicked out of the group after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The UK and Canada have both opposed Russia’s return to the G7.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago.
“Its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7, and it will continue to remain out.”
A spokesman for the UK Prime Minister said he would veto any proposal to allow Russia to rejoin the group.
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