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G7 discuss Ukraine support amid attacks on infrastructure

November 3, 2022

The foreign ministers of the world's wealthiest democracies were meeting in Germany to discuss further cooperation on Ukraine, dependencies on China and Russia, and Iran's police brutality.

Police set up barricades in Münster's city center
The G7 foreign ministers are gathering in MünsterImage: Guido Kirchner/dpa/picture alliance

The foreign ministers of the G7 countries were meeting in the western German city of Münster on Thursday to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine, China's growing political influence and the energy crisis.

The two-day gathering is also expected to focus on ways to achieve greater independence from Beijing and Moscow. 

France, Italy, Japan, Canada, the US, Britain and Germany make up the G7 group of rich democracies.

The meeting is being hosted by Germany, which holds the group's rotating presidency until the end of the year. 

The venue for the talks, the town hall of Münster, has historical significance, as the Peace of Westphalia was negotiated there more than 370 years ago — a milestone for the establishment of European peace.

What did Baerbock say ahead of the summit?

Speaking to a press conference as the summit began, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the G7 would not allow Russia to use "starvation" as a tool of war.

"We will not allow the brutality of this war to lead to masses of elderly people, children, young people and families dying in the coming winter months," the foreign minister told reporters.

She also spoke of geopolitical issues in east Asia, saying that Germany "condemns in the strongest terms," the recent missile launches in North Korea, which she called a "breach of international law."

The German foreign minister was also asked about Germany's relationship with China as Chancellor Olaf Scholz prepared to take a controversial trip to Beijing. Germany has been accused of prioritizing trade with China over checking its increased influence around the world.

"Japan... has repeatedly pointed out how important it is that we recognize that China has changed in recent years and that it is not only a partner in international issues but also a competitor and much more a rival," she told reporters.

What's on the agenda in Münster?

Ahead of the G7 gathering, Baerbock spoke with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The pair attended an event of the "German-American Future Forum." The forum was launched last year by US President Joe Biden and then German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Afterward, the G7 ministers are expected to discuss how to coordinate humanitarian, financial and military aid for Ukraine ahead of the upcoming winter. Germany has already supplied generators to produce electricity. The latest nuclear threats by Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin are also likely to be addressed.

Russia is "trying to create political instability and they are trying to create migration waves because they know that the Europeans are very sensitive to migration," EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell told DW on the sidelines of the meeting.

He said that because they could not conquer Ukraine, Russia was trying to simply "destroy it," by attacking power plants and infrastructure.

Speaking after the first roud of talks, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna promised continued aid for Ukraine in the coming months. 

"Winter is coming and Russia has been systematically destroying civilian infrastructure in Ukraine...Needless to say, we believe that this is a humanitarian crisis," she said. 

Colonna added that Western nations would "strengthen our coordination and... help to Ukraine to defend itself and help its population."

Inflation, Iran, and China also big topics

Later, the G7 ministers are set to talk about measures against high inflation, rising energy prices and collapsing supply chains.

In October, the IMF had warned of the risk of a global recession in view of high inflation, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the  invasion of Ukraine

The ministers also plan to discuss China's growing political influence and how jointly to react to it. Chinese threats against Taiwan as well as the strengthening of partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region will be on the agenda. 

As the US is calling for Iran to be removed from the UN Commission on the status of women, the brutal repression of mass protests in Iran will likely be discussed, too. US Vice President Kamala Harris has announced that she intends to work closely with her partners on the issue. 

EU foreign policy chief Borrell told DW that he had recently spoken with the Iranian foreign minitser and "I told him that we are very much worried by the crackdown of the demonstrators."

Baerbock has also invited the foreign ministers of Ghana and Kenya as well as a representative of the African Union to the meeting. Ghana and Kenya are currently non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. They are likely to discuss food and energy security on the continent next to the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and regional conflicts. 

los, es/nm (dpa, AP, Reuters)