By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Russia is not in talks with the United States about its potential role at an expanded Group of Seven (G7) summit later this year, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on July 4.
“We have not had negotiations of this kind and are not having any,” Ryabkov told TASS.
Ryabkov’s comments countered those of John Sullivan, U.S. ambassador to Russia, who told RBC TV on July 3 that Washington was “engaged with the Russian Foreign Ministry and with the other G7 governments about whether there is an appropriate role for Russia at the G7.”
U.S. President Donald Trump raised the prospect of Russia’s return to the group of leading economic powers in May when he announced plans to postpone the meeting until September because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time he said he would expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea, and India.
Russia was formerly in the group but was expelled in the wake of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Trump said it was “common sense” to invite President Vladimir Putin to rejoin the group, but other G7 countries, including Canada and France, have objected to the idea.
Ryabkov also said an expanded G7 meeting should include China.
“The idea of the so-called expanded G7 summit is flawed, because it is unclear to us how the authors of that initiative plan to consider the Chinese factor. Without China, it is just impossible to discuss certain issues in the modern world,” he said, according to TASS.
Ryabkov also noted that Russia has proposed holding a summit of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
“This is a completely different format. We believe that work in that format, including on the most pressing current issues, is optimal,” Ryabkov said.
Ryabkov said Moscow has continued diplomatic efforts to draw up the agenda of a summit.
“We have submitted appropriate proposals to other partners in the P5 (permanent members of the Security Council), and we are waiting for their reaction,” he said.