G7 summit: Donald Trump has suggested Russia be let back into the G7
The US leader sparked fresh controversy ahead of the major summit in Canada today by “recommending” Moscow be included from now on.
Russia was expelled from the G7 in 2014 after its annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
President Trump is already expected to face stern opposition from much of the group, which includes the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, over his controversial new steel and aluminum tariffs.
But before departing the White House for the international summit today, Donald Trump said: “Russia should be in this meeting, why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting?”
“I would recommend, and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting.
“Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run.
“And in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out, they should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
Italy’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte agreed with Mr Trump’s remarks.
President Trump ‘recommended’ Russia be re-admitted to the G7 before departing for the summit
He said in a tweet that Russia’s re-admission would be “in everyone’s interest”.
But Moscow was quick to insist it no longer wanted to be part of the club.
Russian news agency Sputnik reported Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying: “Russia is focused on other formats, apart from the G7.”
US media has reported Mr Trump was extremely reluctant to even attend the two-day summit in Quebec due to likely attacks from other world leaders over his protectionist policies on trade.
Mr Trump has reportedly already cut short his visit to Canada
The US President had appeared to be warming to both Canadian leader Justin Trudeau and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
But both leaders have turned on Mr Trump ahead of the summit, with Mr Macron insisting the United States could be cut from the group if needs be.
President Trump is said to have already cut short his planned visit to Canada and will now leave tomorrow (Saturday) morning, rather than staying for the full two days.
His early departure will see him miss meetings on the environment and global warming.