It would be a good idea to reconstitute the G8 group with Russia as a member, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Manlio Di Stefano told TASS, commenting on an initiative by Presidents Donald Trump of the US and Emmanuel Macron of France.
"I like the idea and I have always said it. However, I have heard Putin say that the G20 platform is far more appropriate. I would say the same if I were him," Di Stefano pointed out.
Although Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation on August 20, he still will represent the country at a G7 summit scheduled to take place in Biarritz, France, on August 24-26.
Russia and G7
US President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that "it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in" [the G8]. According to a senior US administration official cited by CNN, Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed in a telephone conversation that the Russian president should be invited to the G7 summit in 2020. According to CNN, Trump plans to broach the topic at the upcoming G7 summit.
The G7 is a group of industrialized nations that includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group was renamed the G8 in 1997 when Russia joined the club. However, following the 2014 events in Ukraine that created a crisis in relations between Russia and the West, the group’s western members decided to revert to the G7 model.
On August 21, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow was ready to consider initiatives concerning the revival of the G8 platform if the G7 countries put any forward. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in turn, told reporters on August 22 that returning to the G8 was not a goal in itself for Russia particularly because the G20 platform provided more opportunities for resolving various issues. However, he pointed to Putin’s statements about Moscow’s readiness to communicate with other countries on any platform.