Mon, Jun 08, 2015 - Page 1 News List

EU president calls for action on Russia before G7 summit

AP, ELMAU, Germany

World leaders at the G7 summit should present a united front and uphold the sanctions imposed on Russia for its actions against Ukraine, a top EU official said yesterday.

EU President Donald Tusk spoke ahead of the official opening of the summit, as thousands of German police patrolled a security perimeter around an exclusive Bavarian hotel and a few hundred protesters chanted anti capitalist slogans.

Tusk said that since the Ukraine peace deal agreed in Minsk, Belarus, in February has not been fully implemented, the only question for the 28-nation EU is whether to make the sanctions against Russia even tougher.

“If anyone wants to start a debate about changing the sanctions regime, the discussion could only be about strengthening them,” Tusk said.

The G7 summit marks the second year in a row that leaders from the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan have assembled without Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last year, the world powers excluded Russia from what had been called the G8, a move aimed at isolating Putin and signaling the West’s united opposition to his actions.

Tusk spoke at a news conference with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker. They are participating in the talks as representatives of the EU, while world figures, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, are set to take part in some of the G7 discussions at the Schloss Elmau hotel.

Tusk said Russia’s possible return to the group would depend on a turnaround in Moscow’s foreign policy.

“This is a community of values. And this is why Russia is not among us here today and will not be invited as long as it behaves aggressively toward Ukraine and other countries,” he said.

Tusk said one role for the summit would be “to reconfirm the G7 unity on the sanctions policy.”

Protesters blocked roads as the G7 leaders arrived in the Bavarian Alps to begin their two-day summit. Journalists were flown by helicopter to the venue to avoid delays on the roads due to the protesters.

Several hundred demonstrators hiked early yesterday from the resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to get near the security perimeter around the Schloss Elmau hotel, the secluded summit venue 8km away.

About 22,000 German police were brought in to keep the protesters away from the hotel.

At the security fence, about 200 protesters shouted slogans such as: “Freedom and peace, no more G7,” and waved signs with slogans like: “Politics for people, not markets.” On the other side, about 100 police officers with dogs were patrolling the fence to keep the demonstrators out.

The annual summit has drawn repeated protests by those who believe the leaders’ decisions favor banks and business interests over those of ordinary people. A planned trans-Atlantic free trade agreement is a major concern.

Tusk said the protests represented democratic values.

“People can demonstrate and think what they want, can say what they want, and even look like they want,” he said.

This story has been viewed 1372 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top