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Merkel focuses on climate, women as G7 summit wraps

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has delivered her final G7 statement, touching on climate change, global security and Russia. Her concluding remarks focused on women and their participation in politics and the economy.

Merkel said in Bavaria on Monday that the leaders of the world's economic superpowers had committed to strengthening sanctions against Russia - absent from this year's G7 summit as it was in 2014 as well - if the conflict in Ukraine were to intensify.

"We are also ready, should the situation escalate, which we don't want, to strengthen sanctions if the situation makes that necessary but we believe we should do everything to move forward the political process of the Minsk [agreement]," Merkel told reporters on Monday.

Merkel said that the G7 strongly condemned Russia's annexation of Crimea. Since Russia's ejection from the G8 group after seizing Crimea, the G7 comprises the US, UK, Canada, Italy, France, Japan and Germany.

Global warming target

The German chancellor reinforced the group's wishes to curb global warming at an average increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) in global temperatures from 1990 levels. An agreement to this end will be sought at a global climate conference in Paris later in the year.

The G7 also committed to raising a $100 billion (89 billion euro) fund through public and private sources to combat the rising global temperatures.

"We made a clear commitment. We want binding regulations in the agreement," said Merkel, who has sought to put climate change at the forefront of several such conferences. "We need a decarbonization of the world economy."

G7 Gipfel Schloss Elmau Merkel Obama

Germany and the US reaffirmed their "strong partnership" during the summit

No one 'should suffer'

Germany's chancellor also said that more should be done to eradicate world hunger by 2030, in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The G7 has agreed to implement "international mechanisms" to bolster global healthcare security by creating a financial instrument at the World Bank to "react better to pandemics," Merkel said, alluding to the challenges the international community faced responding to the Ebola virus.

She also called for more efforts to improve working conditions in developing economies, saying that it would be a subject taken up at the G20. No one "should suffer from acute famine," Merkel said at the Schloss Elmau castle in the Bavarian Alps.

'Women are the focus here'

Merkel concluded by focusing on women's empowerment.

Whether security, corruption, working conditions, or global climate change, "women are the focus here," the chancellor said.

"It's not only in developing countries, but also industrial countries," Merkel said, referring to the gender inequality across the globe.

ls/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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