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TOKYO, January 16. /TASS/. Preparations for an upcoming summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations have shown they are at odds over sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, the Kyodo news agency reports on Friday.
It quoted G7 sources as saying the United States is calling for continuation of sanctions but Japan and Germany are stressing the importance of dialogue with Moscow.
The gap emerged at a meeting early in December of ‘sherpa’ personal representatives of the leaders of Great Britain, Italy, Canada, the United States, France, Germany and Japan, Kyodo said.
“The Ukraine crisis is expected to be a major item on the agenda at a G-7 summit slated for June in Germany. At focus is whether the G-7 will take concerted action against Russia, especially at a time when part of sanctions the European Union imposes on Moscow is set to expire in March,” the news agency said.
According to Kyodo sources, “the United States told the Berlin session that the G-7 must ensure coordination to prepare for a possible invocation of new sanctions, calling for continued EU and G-7 sanctions on Russia”.
They quoted a US representative as saying the Russian leadership was taking advantage of the split, and warning Russia could drive a wedge within the group. They said Britain had supported the US in its approach.
“In contrast, Japan, which is eager to advance territorial talks with Russia, and Germany, a major importer of natural gas from Moscow, expressed a softer stance,” the news agency said.
It quoted a German representative as saying some sanctions needed to be maintained, while others should be lifted, as well as that Moscow could demonstrate flexibility if sanctions were eased. Japan, for its part, spoke in favour of continuing a dialogue with Russia in addition to the imposition of sanctions.
Sherpas planned a new meeting in March to continue a dialogue on Ukraine and other issues, Kyodo said.
A G7 summit is due in Germany’s Bavaria on June 7-8.