WASHINGTON: United States President Donald Trump has postponed the G7 summit scheduled to take place in June and to invite other countries including Russia to join the meeting.
“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. He said he would like to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to join an expanded summit in the fall.
Trump said the summit could take place in September, either before or after the UN General Assembly or probably after the presidential elections. Describing the event as a ‘G-10 or G-11’, Trump said he had discussed the topic with leaders of the four other countries.
Leaders from the Group of Seven, which the United States heads this year, had been scheduled to meet by videoconference in late June. The in-person meeting at Camp David, the US presidential retreat outside Washington, was called off due to the pandemic.
Trump announced that he might hold the huge gathering in-person after all primarily at the White House and parts of it at Camp David.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel became the first leader to decline the in-person invitation outright. Her response followed vaguely positive reactions to the invitation from Britain, Canada and France.
Russia was expelled from the G8 in 2014 after it seized Crimea from Ukraine, an annexation never recognised by the international community. The work of the G7 is now more important than ever as countries struggle to repair coronavirus-inflicted damage.
The White House had previously said the huge diplomatic gathering would be a “show of strength” when world economies are gradually reemerging from shutdowns.
The virus is progressing at different speeds across the globe, with infection numbers falling in many of Europe’s most affected countries. The United States is the worst-hit country for COVID-19 infections, recording more than 1.7 million cases and over 103,680 deaths.