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Australian PM Abbott reiterates Russia welcomed at G20 summit

July 29, 2014, 18:16 UTC+3 SYDNEY
“My hope is that the G20 can gather in the normal way and look at how we can collectively and collegially improve the economy of the world…” he says
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 Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

© PA/ALAN PORRITT

SYDNEY, July 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Despite the mounting Western pressure on Russia over its stance on the developments in neighboring Ukraine, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott reiterated on Tuesday that Russia’s presence was welcome at the summit of leaders of world’s 20 largest economies (G20), scheduled for this year’s fall.

Asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited for the global economic forum, Abbott, whose country currently holds the rotating chair in G20 and hosts the organization’s summit in Brisbane on November 15-16, said “The point I have made from very beginning is that the G20 is an economic forum.”

“It is not a security forum,” he said on air of Australia’s 2UE radio broadcaster. “My hope is that the G20 can gather in the normal way and look at how we can collectively and collegially improve the economy of the world… so that everyone can be better off.”

“And finally the more significant economic players are out there the more likely we will get good results,” the Australian premier added.

Abbott first announced that Russia and its leader Putin were welcome at the summit in Australia in the wake of the Group of Eight (G8) of most industrialized world powers summit, held in Brussels on June 4-5 without Russia’s participation.

Although Russia is currently holding the G8 rotating chair, leaders of the organization’s member states, which besides Russia comprises France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada, announced on March 24, 2014 that they would not attend the Sochi Summit in Russia and would instead hold a G7 meeting in Brussels, excluding Russia.

The announcement came after Putin signed on March 21 the federal constitutional law on accession of two new constituent members to the Russian Federation - the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.

Infographics Who fights in Ukraine Who fights in Ukraine
The political crisis in Ukraine led to the formation of many armed groups on its territory. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
The United States and the European Union already imposed a set of sanctions in regard to Russia and warned with further sanctions over Russia’s alleged involvement in the ongoing bloody conflict in Ukraine’s southeast territories. Putin repeatedly dismissed Western claims that Russia could in any way be involved in the armed standoff in Ukraine's southeast regions.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast.

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