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Germany

G7 addresses international crises

Two days of intensive talks are over, and the foreign ministers of the world's seven leading industrialized nations have left the northern German city of Lübeck to return home.

The G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Lübeck ended on Wednesday with a joint statement. The 17-page document addresses the crises in Ukraine and the Mideast, the situation in various African states, the Ebola epidemic, Internet crime, armaments and human rights issues.

On the conflict in Ukraine, the top diplomats underlined their support for Franco-German mediation efforts to solve the crisis in talks with Moscow and Kyiv. The conflicting parties are called on to adhere to and implement the Minsk accord.

Sanctions against Russia can only be lifted if Moscow fulfils its duty and respects Ukraine's sovereignty, the final declaration says.

The annexation of Crimea is unacceptable, the foreign ministers stated.:"We reiterate our condemnation of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea more than a year ago in violation of international law and reaffirm our policy of its non-recognition and sanctions against those involved."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters the G7 doesn't want to isolate Russia, but that Moscow could only expect to rejoin the club if it applies and adheres to the Minsk accord.

Crises, conflicts, failed states

Talks also focused on the numerous crises and bloody civil wars in the Mideast. The ministers condemned the "attacks, atrocities, unlawful killings and abuses of human rights" by the Islamic State terrorist group as well as the Assad regime's brutality that cost 220,000 lives over the past four years.

They urged the Iraqi leadership to seek national reconciliation and implement reforms to preserve the unity of the country.

The ministers voiced deep concern over the newly flared up conflict in Yemen. They sided with President Abd-Rabbu Mansu El Hadi, and said all action taken should be "in accordance with international law." The conflict, Steinmeier said, needs a political solution. In their joint declaration, the foreign ministers urged the formation of a government of national unity to end the bloodshed in Yemen.

Kerry's flying visit

US Secretary of State John Kerry only joined the G7 meeting for three hours on the second day of the talks because he participated in a hearing in Congress on the nuclear talks with Iran. In Lübeck, he informed his counterparts that in future, the Senate and House of Representatives might have a say on agreements with Tehran.

John Kerry speakijg to media

In Lübeck, John Kerry was confident on an Iran nuclear deal

The Senate Foreign Committee told the President it would not undermine efforts toward a deal. In turn, it would have 30 days to review a possible accord with Iran. The Republicans are wary of nuclear talks with Iran. In a letter to the leadership in Tehran, 47 Republican senators recently pointed out that they could bring about the downfall of a possible deal in Congress.

Steinmeier said he is confident that the compromise in the US will not strain the talks with Iran, adding that Tehran has so far been unperturbed. After 12 years of negotiations, there's finally hope of an accord. The goal of an Iran without nuclear weapons remains, he said. "No nuclear proliferation in the Mideast, and in the midst of all the conflicts in the region, hopefully a chance for more security and cooperation."

Joint declaration on Ebola, maritime security

The top diplomats also endorsed a Declaration on Maritime Security and adopted a statement on Ebola, pledging to "collectively assist around the world, including in West Africa, to achieve common targets to prevent future outbreaks from becoming epidemics" in close cooperation with African Union member states and other regional organizations in Africa.

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