In contrast to the sunny weather greeting delegates on Wednesday in the German city of Lübeck, "the weather in international politics is quite stormy," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
He listed a number of topics that would be brought up in the G7 meeting. At the top of the list, he said, were the on-going nuclear negotiations with Iran, but Steinmeier also included diplomatic issues such as the spread of "Islamic State," increasing instability in Yemen, stalled peace talks in the Middle East, and the Ukraine crisis.
Steinmeier welcomed a decision by the UN Security Council reached a day before that placed an arms embargo on Houthi rebel leaders in Yemen, but said "we are far away from a situation in which we are able to calm the situation, to deescalate or to find a political solution."
Issues relating to the influence of climate change on stability and on future conflicts in Asia and Africa would also be discussed, as well as maritime security, Steinmeier said.
New influence of Congress
US Secretary of State John Kerry joined Steinmeier in making the first remarks of the day from the meeting. Kerry arrived Wednesday morning a day after US President Obama had agreed to allow congressional review of any further nuclear deal with Iran. This would mean sanctions against Iran would only be lifted with approval by Congress if Iran agrees to conditions limiting its nuclear development.
Kerry said the challenge of finishing negotiations with Iran was "looming large."
"Yesterday there was a compromise reached in Washington regarding congressional input" Kerry said. "We are confident about our ability of the president to negotiate an agreement, and to do with the ability to make the world safer."
Steinmeier said the agreement with Congress would have a certain influence on whether a final agreement with Iran could be made. The P5 + 1 group, consisting of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States plus Germany, hopes to have a final agreement in place by the end of June.
Reuters news agency carried a quote from Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham that the involvement of Congress was "an issue related to [American] domestic affairs. We are dealing with the American government."