Monday, March 3, 2014

Obama White House Refers to "G-7 Leaders" For First Time in Presidency; Excludes Russia

    Perhaps as a sign of how deep the rift between Russia and the western powers has become over Ukraine, the White House put out a statement from the "G-7 Leaders" for the first time since President Obama was elected.  In the past five years, there are dozens of references on the White House website to "G-8 Leaders" and "G8 Leaders", but no comparable references to "G-7."  The G-8 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus Russia since 1998.
    The statement itself makes clear that Russia is not yet being officially excluded from the group, but puts that country on notice that the original seven members, plus the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission, are suspending participation in the preparations for the next scheduled G-8 summit.  Preparations will remain suspended until the "environment" is more conducive to "meaningful discussion".  The summit happens to be planned for the Russian city put on the map by the recent Olympics, Sochi:
We note that Russia’s actions in Ukraine also contravene the principles and values on which the G-7 and the G-8 operate.  As such, we have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back where the G-8 is able to have meaningful discussion.
    The Obama White House has often been criticized for valuing words more than actions, but the words in this case, if not yet the actions, seem to go further than the administration has seen fit to go before in rebuking the Vladimir Putin's Russia.

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