G7 meeting fails to make stand on key issues

G7 leaders in Taormina
Contributed from Victoria

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations completed a two-day meeting at the Italian town of Taormina (Sicily) end of last week. It included the heads of state of the United states, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, as well as the European Union.

They signed a joint declaration against terrorism that according to the document, signatories will work together manage “the risk posed by foreign fighters as they disperse from theatres of conflict” and to “take action to cut off sources and channels of terrorist financing”.

The statement also said: “Since the lack of social and economic inclusiveness and opportunities may contribute to the rise of terrorism and violent extremism, we commit to address these issues through a comprehensive approach linking together security, social inclusion, and development”.

However, the declaration failed to move past statement, to include concrete obligations to deal with the social and economic issues and the support of foreign governments to various terror groups. Critics suggest that these omissions will make the declaration ineffective.

Environment protection organisations had lobbied for action on climate warming. But progress was stalled by Donald Trump’s intransigence on behalf of the United states, including indications that the coming Climate meeting in Paris will be boycotted. The reason. Denial that the problem exists.

Even though the other participating nations have the opposite view, Trump’s isolation did not mean that he would be unsuccessful in preventing progress on this front.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, the summit’s host, said separately that there was “no agreement” on the Paris accord.

The final communique merely stated commitment to the Paris Accord ad noted that the United states has not decided yet.

The third big issue concerned the refugee issue. G7 representatives met with African heads of state and government on the weekend to discuss this and development.

Leaders of Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Niger and Tunisia were invited to join the talks, along with representatives from six African organisations, including the African Union (AU), as the G7 wrapped up its two-day annual summit.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s government wanted G7 partners to provide substantial help to crucial African countries in terms of investments and development policies, to stem the endless flows of migrants and refugees fleeing poverty, destitution, and war.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union (EU) Council Donald Tusk also attended the meeting.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees have been risking their life crossing the Mediterranean from African coasts to Europe in the past years, and 1,520 people were estimated to have drowned in the attempt as of May 24, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR.

Italy has registered over 50,400 new arrivals so far, this year, and some 181,000 in 2016, which in both cases would represent the large portion of all arrivals to Europe.

Once again, it was the United States that was the spoiler, pushing against measures to resettle refugees and for the emphasis on preventing their arrival in the first place.

Therefore, the final statement failed to go beyond: “The ongoing large-scale movement of migrants and refugees is a global trend that, given its implications for security and human rights, calls for coordinated efforts at the national and international level”.


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