The main diplomats of the Group of seven were participating on Saturday at a summit on the banks of the River Mersey in Liverpool, which the host, Britain, described as a “demonstration of unity against global aggressors.”
London seeks an elusive consensus from the club of the world’s most industrialized nations in response to tensions with China and Iran, and what it describes as Russia’s “evil behavior” toward Ukraine.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss received her US counterpart, Antony Blinken, and the other G7 foreign ministers bumping their fists at the entrance to the Museum of Liverpool at the start of the two-day summit.
“We have to defend ourselves against the growing threats from hostile actors,” Truss said at the beginning of the meeting, which was also attended by the foreign secretaries of Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. “And we must unite strongly to confront the aggressors who seek to restrict the limits of freedom and democracy.”
Truss and Blinken met Friday night and “expressed deep concern about the accumulation of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border,” the British government said. The two politicians claimed that “any incursion by Russia would be a strategic mistake with serious consequences.”
The United States and its NATO allies are concerned that Moscow’s movement of troops and weapons in the border region could be the prelude to an invasion and have said they will impose heavy sanctions on the Russian economy if that happens.
Moscow denies planning an attack on Ukraine and accuses Kiev of its own aggressive plans.
Before the summit, Truss warned that “free democratic nations” must turn away from Russian gas and money to maintain their independence.
The British chancellor also indicated that she wants to work with other countries “to ensure that free democratic nations can have an alternative to the supply of Russian gas”, referring to the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, built to bring gas from Russia to Germany.
On the sidelines of the summit, Truss held a meeting with the new German minister, Annalena Baerbock, from the environmentalist party The Greens, who had opposed infrastructure.
Britain, which is not heavily dependent on Russian gas, criticizes the initiative. But London’s financial district and property market are big centers for Russian money, and local authorities have for years been accused of turning a blind eye to their funds around the world.
The summit is the last major act of the year for the UK leading the G7. The diplomats’ agenda will also address the delays in efforts to vaccinate the entire world population against COVID-19 and China’s show of force in the Indo-Pacific region.
While the foreign ministers of Great Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan meet, in Vienna the negotiators try to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran.
This week, Truss warned that the talks in Vienna were “the last chance for Iran” to accept the deal, which was created to curb the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Tehran. The deal collapsed in 2018 when the then president.
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