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US President Trump reiterates call for Russia to rejoin ‘G8’

Mandel Ngan, AFP | US President Donald Trump during a meeting with Romania's President Klaus Iohannis in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 20, 2019.

US President Donald Trump renewed calls on Tuesday to let Russia join the G7 -- thus making it the G8 again -- group of advanced industrialised countries.

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Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump noted that his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had wanted Russia out of what used to be the G8 "because Putin outsmarted him”.

“But I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8 because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia,” Trump said, just days before a G7 summit -- minus Russia -- in Biarritz, France.

Trump added, “I could certainly see it being the G8 again. If someone would make that motion, I would be disposed to think about it favourably.... "They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table."

Russia pushed out after Crimea

Russia was pushed out of the G8 in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

It was not the first time Trump has floated the idea of Russia getting back together with the G7, which groups the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.

In June 2018, Trump suggested Russia should attend a forthcoming G7 summit in Canada. A Kremlin spokesman seemed to reject the idea, saying Russia was focused on other formats.

Two days later, President Vladimir Putin said Russia did not choose the G7 and would be happy to host its members in Moscow.

Trump has periodically called for closer ties with Russia, although his administration’s policy has included strong sanctions against Moscow.

He is due to host the next G7 meeting in the United States next year.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

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