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G7 summit results reveal fragility of this format, says Russian expert

The group lost its significance after more than 40 years of existence, the expert believes

MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. The ongoing Group of Seven summit in France’s Biarritz has already exposed instability and internal divisions within the club, a Russian expert said on Monday.

"Preliminary results of the Group of Seven summit have demonstrated the fragility of this structure. On the other hand, they show that the developed industrialized democracies are nevertheless trying to cut corners and reach accord. With difficulty, to be frank," Andrei Bystritsky, the board chairman of the Valdai International Discussion Club, told TASS.

He noted that the group had lost its significance after more than 40 years of existence. "Of course, Russia could be of help for them in this situation to help resolve many of the problems facing these nations. But they don’t know how to do that," he said, adding that the very formula of the group’s further existence is unclear because of "lots of ambivalence" within it.

As an example he cited the situation around the invitation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Biarritz. Not all the participants knew about that, he said, noting that some might have been against it.

"The organization is unlikely to cease to exist but it is doomed to a long and painful transformation. Moreover, they will have to reckon with Russia even more and try to reach some sort of accord with it," Bystritsky stressed.

G7 and Iran

Commenting on US President Donald Trump’s reaction to the Iranian top diplomat’s arrival, the expert noted that the US leader seemed to be uncomfortable "to meet with Zarif and thus demonstrate support to the French initiative." "Trump has already said he had never authorized France to hold talks with Iran on his behalf. So, he tried to save his face," he said.

"I am sure Trump is inclined to expect some sort of capitulation from Iran, and that is unlikely to happen. Europeans, on the contrary, tend to allow room for negotiations," Bystritsky added.

The Group of Seven (G7), an informal bloc of countries with the world’s largest economies, has been existing since 1976 to bring together the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States, France and Japan. In 1997, it was renamed the Group of Eight (G8) after Russia joined the club. In 2014, Western countries decided to return to the G7 format in the wake of the developments in Ukraine and the deterioration of relations with Russia.