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Russia to continue to carry out presidency functions in G8

March 05, 2014, 20:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The agenda of the upcoming G8 Summit is supposed to address five most pressing issues that concern the international community
1 pages in this article
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov

© EPA/STRINGER

MOSCOW, March 05. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia takes its obligations with great responsibility and will continue to carry out its presidency functions in the Group of Eight, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday, March 5.

“We take our obligations in the Group of Eight with great responsibility and will continue working under the program of our presidency,” Ryabkov told ITAR-TASS.

As an example, he mentioned a conference on combating radicalization of public sentiment as a breeding ground for terrorism, which took place in Moscow on March 3-4.

“We are glad that the conference was attended by representatives of not only traditional confessions and governmental organizations but also international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE. The fact that the G8 members decided against showing up at this event is regrettable, but we do not dramatize the situation. Our invitations are still in force,” the diplomat said.

The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States had decided to suspend their participation in events associated with the preparation of the scheduled G8 Summit in Sochi in June.

The move was made over Russia’s stance on Ukraine. The G7 countries, the President of the European Commission, and the President of the European Council condemned what they called Russia’s “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in contravention of Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter and its 1997 basing agreement with Ukraine.”

They called on Moscow to “address any ongoing security or human rights concerns that it has with Ukraine through direct negotiations, and/or via international observation or mediation under the auspices of the UN or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.”

However, the Russian Foreign Ministry said this decision was “not only politically flawed but it also runs counter to the principles of constructive interaction within the Group of Eight format, which is intended to tap the combined potential of its member countries in the interests of development and global stability and to combat transboundary challenges and threats.”

“Russia has repeatedly provided necessary explanations via various channels and at all levels” regarding the situation in Ukraine, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said that Russia’s partners in the Group of Eight were not discussing a boycott of the G8 summit in Sochi.

The communique adopted by EU foreign ministers on Monday, March 3, unanimously after a long discussion and released by the White House does not call for boycotting the summit but calls for suspending the G7 countries’ participation in the preparatory meetings, she said.

This does not mean that the G8 format no longer exists, the minister added.

Her Spanish colleague Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said sanctions against Russia over Ukraine would be unjustified.

“It would be hard to imagine what may happen to the economy of Ukraine if Russia stops trade and economic cooperation with it or, for example, raises the price of gas,” the minister said, adding that Russian gas supplies were also important for the EU.

He believes that the dialogue could be based on the February 21 agreement on the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, which was signed in Kiev with the participation of three European countries.

The agenda of the upcoming G8 Summit is supposed to address five most pressing issues that concern the international community, Russian Sherpa in the Group of Eight (G8) Alexei Kvasov said.

A worldwide Gallup poll in 2013 identified five key problems worrying people around the globe: terrorism, climate, shortages of water and food, global economic crisis, and civil wars in Arab countries (in decreasing order).

“The Group of Eight’s priorities in 2014 largely reflect these global concerns,” Kvasov said at the roundtable titled “From G20 to G8: Russia’s Agenda.”

The Group’s central tasks include the fight against the drug threat, anti-terrorism cooperation, conflict resolution, natural and man-made disaster risk management, and global health security.

Russia took over the presidency in the Group of Eight on January 1, 2014. The main event of its presidency — the G8 summit — is scheduled to be held in Sochi on June 4-5.

At the G8 Summit in Sochi, Russia plans to present our partners with an ample agenda for frank and substantive discussion so as to — most importantly — arrive at concrete decisions, President Vladimir Putin said.

“We see that the world has not become safer in recent years, but it has undoubtedly become more complicated. Threats to sustainable development are increasingly diverse. Focal points of violence and civil strife are multiplying, and the system of international law is losing ground. The planet is also shaken by volatile economic conditions, natural and environmental disasters. Due to close interdependence, the problems of a single country or region invariably reach global proportions. However, crisis response tools are not always effective,” he said.

Putin believes that in such a situation, the G8 must focus on present-day and future challenges. It must share the responsibility for the future.

As the holder of the G8 Presidency, Russia suggests that the G8 members should develop comprehensive and cooperative mechanisms to control the most critical risks. It is important to cover the entire “chain” — from forecasting and preventing particular threats to overcoming their potential adverse effects, the president noted.

The Group of Eight (G8) is an unofficial forum of the world's major economies (Russia, the United States, Great Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Canada, and Italy, with the participation of the EU Leaders) designed to coordinate approaches to the most pressing issues of global affairs.

The G8 does not operate as an international organisation, not being based on an international treaty or having a charter or permanent secretariat. The decisions taken by the G8 are non-binding political commitments of the member states to follow the agreed logic of action in addressing specific issues.

The host country of the G8 annual summit is presiding over the forum throughout the year, coordinating the G8's operating activities. The rotation of the G8 Presidency starts with France (last presidency in 2011), followed by the US, the UK, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada. The EU does not host summits and cannot assume presidency.

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