G7 foreign ministers meet to discuss Ukraine war, impacts

AP , Thursday 12 May 2022

Top diplomats from the Group of Seven wealthy nations gathered Thursday in northern Germany for a three-day meeting centered on Russia's war against Ukraine and the wider impact it is having around the world, particularly on food and energy prices.

G7 Foreign Ministers
US State Department s Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, British Secretary for Foreign Affairs Elizabeth Truss, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio (hidden) and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell walk in the garden during the G7 Foreign ministers meeting in Wangels, Northern Germany on May 12, 2022. AFP


German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, the meeting's host, said the conflict already had become a ``global crisis`` because shipments of staple crops are stuck in Ukraine, a major agricultural exporter.

``Twenty-five million tons of grain are currently blocked in Ukrainian ports, particularly Odesa,'' Baerbock said. ``Grain that's food for millions of people around the world and which is needed particularly urgently in African countries and the Middle East.''

``That's why we are discussing how the grain blockade exerted by Russia can be unblocked, how we can get the grain out to the world,'' she added.

Baerbock warned that climate change also is a factor in the brewing global food emergency, and it's another topic the ministers plan to discuss during their meeting in Weissenhaus, a resort on Germany's Baltic Sea coast northeast of Hamburg.

About 3,500 police officers were deployed at the event site to provide security.

The foreign ministers of Ukraine and neighboring Moldova, which fears becoming the next target of Russia's aggression, have been invited to attend the meeting as guests. Indonesia's foreign minister, whose country chairs the Group of 20 major economies this year, is expected to join remotely for part of the meeting Friday, when relations with China are on the agenda.

Speaking earlier Thursday in Berlin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the German government's recent decisions to step up military support for his country.

``We see a positive, positive dynamic,'' Kuleba told reporters after a meeting with German lawmakers. ``We have to make sure that this positive dynamic is maintained.''

Kuleba said he considered it a ``signal of strength'' that Chancellor Olaf Scholz's center-left Social Democratic Party had dropped its opposition to providing Ukraine with heavy weapons.

He also expressed hope that the European Union would soon approve Ukraine's application to start the process of joining the bloc. French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested it could be decades before Ukraine is ready to become a full EU member.

Baerbock recently visited Kyiv, the first top representative of Germany to travel to Ukraine's capital since the start of the war, and offered support for Ukraine's EU application.

Also attending the meeting in Weissenhaus were the foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Italy and Japan. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is representing the United States; U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is recovering from COVID-19 but is scheduled to travel to Berlin for a weekend meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

The NATO gathering will also hear from the foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland as the two countries are poised to join the Western military alliance amid concerns over the military threat from Russia.

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