Wednesday 05 May 2021
Moscow’s “malicious activity”
G7 go to court with China and Russia
After years of insignificance, the G7 are opening a new chapter – and are positioning themselves as the antithesis of authoritarian regimes. In the final declaration, the seven western states condemn two countries for their violations of human rights.
At the end of their three-day meeting in London, the G7 foreign ministers made serious accusations against Russia and China. In a statement they accuse the Moscow government of “malicious activities” to undermine the democratic systems of other states. They also criticize the Russian troops stationed on the border with Ukraine again. “We are deeply concerned that the negative pattern of irresponsible and destabilizing behavior in Russia continues,” it said.
The G7 countries are also concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia and “the systematic action taken against opposition voices, human rights defenders, independent civil society and the media”. You again criticize the imprisonment of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
With a view to China, the group of economically strong Western democracies sharply criticize the repression against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang and again calls for the United Nations to be granted access to the region in order to be able to assess the situation. The situation in Hong Kong is also addressed in the declaration. “We call on China and the Hong Kong government to end the targeted fight against rights and freedoms and democratic values,” it said.
G7 gets heavier weight
The foreign ministers met in person for the first time in two years from Monday to Wednesday. In addition to hosts Great Britain, the G7 includes the USA, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada. In addition, the EU Foreign Representative takes part in the meetings. During the reign of US President Donald Trump, the group founded in the 1970s had lost a lot of its importance. Trump had little interest in the format of the conversation, and even canceled the final declaration afterwards.
After the change of government in the USA, the G7 is now to regain its strength as a forum for western democracies and in contrast to autocratic tendencies. The foreign ministers of South Korea, Australia, South Africa and India were also invited to London. The Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar canceled his personal participation at short notice because of suspected corona cases in his delegation, although he had already traveled the long way to London. According to the British media, the entire Indian delegation went into self-isolation because of two suspected corona cases. The country is currently considered the epicenter of the pandemic and is grappling with a dramatic spread of the virus.
More vaccine for poorer countries
The G7 meeting was also about supplying poorer countries like India with vaccines. Maas called for a faster distribution. The speed of deliveries as part of the international Covax initiative must be significantly increased again, said the SPD politician. “We want to continue this initiative, we want to become even faster, we want to deliver even more vaccine to the world.” This is also a way of countering the “vaccine diplomacy” of China and Russia.
China has shipped more than 100 million doses of vaccine abroad, according to official figures. Around 80 countries and three international organizations are receiving support from China. It is unclear what is being given for free and what is being delivered abroad cheaply or at market prices. According to information from Moscow, the Sputnik V vaccine developed by Russian researchers is now approved in more than 60 countries.
The “Group of Seven” also decided to promote the education of girls. It is planned that a total of 40 million girls will attend school in poor and poorer countries by 2026, according to the final declaration. In addition, by the same year a total of 20 million more girls should be able to read by the age of ten or when they graduate from elementary school. The G7 summit – the first by US President Joe Biden and the last by Chancellor Angela Merkel – will take place from June 11th to 13th in Cornwall, southwest England.