The 43rd G7 summit has concluded. The second and final day focused on Africa, with leaders from the continent being invited to Taormina.
The final communique of the G7 dedicated the most space to foreign and security issues, the area which united G7 leaders the most.
Agreements were reached on the need to find a political solution to Syria, and their willingness to engage Russia provided they were willing to use their influence positively. Likewise, the 7 are willing to engage with Russia, and end sanctions against it if it completes its implementation of the Minsk Agreements, with regards to the Ukraine. However, they also attached a threat to expand the sanctions if necessary.
Other security issues the G7 have found common ground on, include the fight against ISIS, instability in Libya, condemnation of North Korean aggression, opposition to any unilateral action in the East and South China Seas, and a commitment on tackling cyber-attacks.
Uncertainty over President’s Trump position on global trade issues were put to rest when he agreed to the final statement on the matter, which reiterated the group’s commitment to fight protectionism and keep markets open, whilst agreeing to fight against any distorting trade practices.
As expected the climate change issue remained divisive, with all leaders except Trump agreeing to the joint final statement. President Trump has suggested, in a tweet, he will make his final decision on the issue of whether to keep the US committed to the Paris Agreement within a week or so.
Italy hoped to bring attention to the migration crisis and encourage the wealthiest countries to do more with helping socio-economic development in Africa. Italy’s attempts to emphasise the positive effects of legal migration were put down by the US (with UK support) before the summit began. The final statement on the issue maintained the group’s commitment to the human rights of migrants and refugees, but highlighted their commitment to states’ right to control their borders and protect their own national interests and security.
Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou used his invitation to bring attention to the unfulfilled aid commitments from the wealthiest countries to tackle poverty. As well as calling on the group to bring an end to the crisis in Libya. Niger acts as a transit country for African migrants on their way to Europe. Issoufou stressed the need for development on the continent as a way to prevent illegal migration. The Kenyan leader President Uhuru Kenyatta is reported to have challenged the side-lining and the ‘talking down’ of African leaders, with the group agreeing to bring the continent’s leaders on board to tackle global problems, such as terrorism.
The summit was met with protests, with a small group of protesters becoming aggressive and challenging the police, who fired tear gas at them. The overall turnout of protesters was lower than expected, as a result of the heavy security measures the authorities put in place.
References and Further Reading:
http://www.g7italy.it/en/documenti-vertice (Documents from the Summit)