G7 Foreign Ministers Meet Ahead of August Summit
G7 (Group of Seven) foreign ministers met in Dinard and Saint Malo in northwestern France on Friday and Saturday to set the agenda for the upcoming Biarritz Summit of G7 leaders, which will be held in late August in southern France. The G7, which comprises a group of seven industrialized democracies, aims to combat global inequality, decrease the threats of terrorism and trafficking, and support the spread of democracy.
The most recent meeting was attended by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, British Political Director Richard Moore, Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
Not present at the meeting was U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose absence indicated that the G7 might not be able to address certain international concerns.
The meeting’s preparations for the leaders’ summit in August proceeded with little altercation. Last year’s leaders’ summit in Canada saw U.S. President Donald Trump back out of a joint communique at the last minute after bickering with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over North American trade.
France, which holds this year’s G7 presidency, has set more modest goals for the group, keeping the focus on largely agreed-upon subjects including gender inequality, cyber crime, and trafficking in the Sahel region of Africa. France has followed Canada’s lead in the focus on gender inequality with an emphasis on feminist foreign policy and a new gender-equality advisory council.
G7 foreign ministers also addressed denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea. The communique published after the two-day meeting states, “We regret that the DPRK has not taken concrete, verified actions towards denuclearization, and we urge the DPRK to comply with and fulfill its international obligations, and undertake those actions.”
Still, the foreign ministers meeting did not go without disagreement, especially on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Despite the crisp air of Dinard,” Le Drian commented, “we couldn’t overcome some of our differences.”