French President Emmanuel Macron has agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump that Russia should be invited to the G7 conference in 2020, according to a senior administration official.
A senior administration official told CNN earlier that Trump and Macron agreed in a phone conversation Tuesday that they wanted to invite Russia to the G7 next year. Trump is expected to broach the topic with other world leaders this weekend at the G7.
The call was planned to generally discuss the upcoming G7 meetings in France, which begin on Saturday. It was Macron who suggested inviting Russia to the gathering next year, and Trump agreed, the source said.
According to the source, some White House officials believe that this is a ploy by Macron to embarrass Trump into putting himself on the line publicly and pushing for Russia to be allowed back in, though the French and American leaders have discussed the topic in the past. France wants to normalize relations with Russia, the source added.
Yesterday, Trump claimed that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, wanted Russia out of the group because Russian President Vladimir Putin outsmarted him.
Trump previously said Russia should be reinstated to group as he departed for last year's summit. "Russia should be in this meeting," Trump said upon leaving the White House for the summit, which was held in Charlevoix, Canada. "They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table."
First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that G7 countries are extremely interested in returning to the G8 format with Russia's participation. “There is no doubt that the G7 needs Russia. No global issue can be resolved in the modern world without Russia. At the same time, the G20 format, where Russia plays a very active role, has successfully worked. Due to which, apparently, Macron and Trump decided to raise the status of their elite club just so that it would continue to exist," he explained.
Since the United States showed such interest, it can be expected that there will be no resistance to Russia's return from other G7 participants. “Of course, there will be objections from Canada and the UK. But if Trump makes such a decision, he will defend the position in a tough way, as usual. At the same time, it must be understood that a return to the G8 will be primarily Russia's decision. Our president said that we we don’t refuse any contacts, and if no conditions are set, this proposal can be considered. Again, the G20 format is so successful that participation in the G8 is not very important for Russia, but if we consider it possible to return, this could be good too," Dzhabarov stressed.
Director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, recalled that Vladimir Putin personally discussed this proposal with Macron during his visit to France. “Putin said quite clearly that if guests gather in Russia, then it's possible. In June 2015, the G8 summit was to be held in Sochi, but the Americans refused to attend it, other countries did the same, so the president only confirmed his invitation to the G7 to come to Russia and discuss all the problems in the full G8 format,” he said.
"Trump’s position is understandable: in his opinion, the G8 is a serious platform where leaders of eight states could discuss pressing problems. Without Russia, discussing any issues related to international security, the system of international relations as a whole, is meaningless. Russia is a nuclear power, and Trump clearly understands it. In addition, Trump and Macron serve in elected positions, the U.S. presidential election will be held next year, and now Trump will be more negotiable, since a significant number of American citizens and electors are interested in international stability," Alexander Gusev noted.