Outcome of G7 Summit: Global Challenges and Shared Interests of Global Actors

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Baku, 23 June 2015 –

The Bavarian castle of Elmau, in the south of Germany, was the venue for the recent Summit of the G7 countries. According to the format of G7, Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, U.S., France and Japan gathered to address the urgent issues of international relevance. It must be noted that throughout 1997-2014, Russia was also represented in the group, along with other members, and it was actually called G8. The confrontation with Ukraine and annexation of Crimea however, led to Russia’s ousting from the group. By the way, the idea of convening of the leaders of developed nations emerged in the 1970s, in the times of economic crisis and aggravated relations on the economic and fiscal matters between the U.S., Western Europe and Japan.

Judging by the final declarations made by the leaders on broad scope of issues, the summit’s agenda was quite comprehensive. Overall, the leaders delivered remarks on shared values, global warming, fight against pandemics, and toughening sanctions against Russia. The final item on the agenda was one of the most notable ones, but it was not in Russia’s favor, to put it mildly, and it was only natural that decisions by the leaders saw criticism coming from Russian political circles and expert community. We will return to that subject.

In general, the global challenges facing humanity that were addressed the Summit have serious repercussions, as they are capable of changing the balance of forces – something that inevitably leads to violation of the world order. It is no secret that the U.S. is playing a leading role in the international politics. Therefore, the big players, such as Japan, are looking forward to an effective dialogue aimed at securing a promising political alliance. The U.S. is happy to forge allied relations with the ''Land of the Rising Sun'', not least because they share common interests with respect to China. For the U.S., solidification of military-political alliance with Japan can be an effective instrument of pressure upon China’s policies.

China, in the meantime, is conducting a wise and well-calculated policy and it is fascinating that it demonstrates no desire to join such formats as G7. It is obvious that unlike Germany or France, for China involvements with such formats is of no interest and thus, the former flaunted disregard for criticism coming from G7 regarding the construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea. We know that in the course of the G7 Summit, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his concern about China’s continued dominance in the South China Sea. U.S. also voiced its apprehension that detriments to the free trade were damaging for not only the U.S. economy but also for the one of other G7 nations. According to European diplomatic sources, prior to the Summit China had tried to pressure the G7 nations not to deliberate on Beijing’s actions regarding maritime security.

Indeed, the growth of the world economy is as dependent on the U.S., India as it is on China, and in fact, the insightful Europeans are acknowledging this. Perhaps, this fact has stopped some European nations from openly expressing their dismay with China’s policy, whereas after Russia’s expelling from the G7, Beijing has not opposed rapprochement with Russia. When it comes to Russia, Moscow has responded to Germany’s message on possible toughening of Western sanctions against Russia in a distinctive way. Kremlin was prompt in reacting to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that sanctions against Russia would be hardened if the Minsk agreement were not honored. Later, Barack Obama spoke to the media, emphasized the damage to the Russian economy done by the sanctions, and assured that if the situation in the Eastern Ukraine fails to improve all the participants of the Summit favored further expansion of sanctions.

Meanwhile, Moscow learned its lesson because immediately President Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitriy Peskov came out with a statement saying that the heads of government are favoring more efficient formats than G7. Kremlin’s behavior demonstrates that it was neither ready to reconsider its position on relations with Ukraine nor display eagerness to mend the fences with the Western partners. This is another testimony to upset balance of forces in the region, where the great powers have diametrically divergent interests.

Interestingly, according to Ukrainian media, President Obama and Chancellor Merkel had a telephone conversation with President Poroshenko of Ukraine. Prime Ministers of Japan and Canada – Shinzo Abe and Stephen Harper even visited Kiev and pledged to do their utmost in order to resolve the situation in Donbass and establish bilateral contacts. In practice, all of these promises were evident in the declarations denouncing Russia’s annexation of Crimea – G7 nations were committed to Minsk agreement and political resolution of the situation in Donbass was the only way of resolving the conflict.

''We support Ukraine in the difficult task of implementing reforms and fighting corruption and ready to assist it'' said Chancellor Merkel at the final press conference. Ukrainian officials praised the outcome of the Summit. They highly appreciated unanimity of the G7 nations in evaluating the Ukraine-Russia conflict and EU’s championing of extension of sanctions against Russia. It was also highlighted that under the current circumstances, Ukraine should concentrate on implementation of successful reforms.

Sanctions aside, be it U.S., China or Russia, the global players are seeking to gain maximum benefit even in the most critical of situations. This, in turn, is projected upon the distribution of forces in the international politics. Judging by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that the international crises were to be resolved with the participation of key international players and the article placed in the German ''Handelsblatt'' (newspaper critical of the G7’s performance) calling for bringing in Russia, China and India and establishing G10, Russia’s presence in the new format cannot be ruled out.

Therefore, given the number of unresolved problems such as ISIS, Ebola, unchecked migration engulfing the Middle East, nuclear non-proliferation and G7’s inefficiency in addressing those challenges, the call for renewed composition of the group or expansion to G10 appears quite legitimate.

Leyla Mammadaliyeva

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