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How G7’s 2017 Agenda Differs From Past Summits

How G7’s 2017 Agenda Differs From Past Summits

How G7’s 2017 Agenda Differs From Past Summits
May 26
16:54 2017

Terrorism is expected to dominate the G7 summit held this year in the picturesque city of Taormina, Sicily, since terrorist attacks have recently rocked nearly all members of the elite club, comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The suicide bombing in Manchester has played a major part in this respect. On 22 May, Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan decent, set off an improvised explosive devise at Manchester Arena near the end of a concert by American singer Ariana Grande. The attack claimed the lives of 22 people, including children and teenagers, and left 120 injured.

​A day later, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni called on the G7 leaders to send a “message displaying the strongest possible commitment” to fight terrorism. Speaking at the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, Gentiloni said that counterterrorism efforts should be taken to the next level.

“For this reason tomorrow in Taormina I will promote the adoption of a declaration against terrorism and violent extremism,” he added.

Counterterrorism has also been a major issue for United States President Donald Trump, who was promoting his vision of establishing “a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future” during his visit to Saudi Arabia.

The G7 leaders are also likely to focus on the campaign aimed at defeating Daesh and countering terrorist financing. On Sunday, the United States and Saudi Arabia created the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC). The US Treasury Department described the working group as a “collaborative approach to confronting new and evolving threats arising from terrorist financing.”

Relations with Russia are also expected to be on the agenda of the summit, to a certain extent due to Moscow’s counterterrorism operation in Syria and its overall efforts to tackle extremism. During his speech at the NATO Summit, Gentiloni noted that NATO should foster its relations with Russia, calling for a “significant dialogue” with Moscow.

The North Korean nuclear and missile programs, as well as relations with Iran will also be some of the issues of particular interest at the summit, which European Council President Donald Tusk described as “the most challenging” in years in opening the briefing.

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Relations between Washington and Pyongyang have deteriorated after North Korea stepped up its military efforts, carrying out a series of missile tests and pledging to conduct its sixth nuclear test. Earlier this year, Trump made several statements, appearing to suggest that the US could launch a preemptive strike against the DPRK. He has toned down his assertive rhetoric in recent weeks.

In addition, in February, Trump referred to Iran as “the number one terrorist state.” While in Israel during his first overseas trip, the US president said that Tehran “must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias and it must cease immediately.”

The G7 leaders are also expected to discuss migration and human trafficking.

“Taormina will thus be primarily a security summit, with development and especially the economy taking a secondary place. It will also be a substantial success, with President Trump having learned that he must adjust to his real democratic peers to pioneer the badly needed solutions to key global challenges that America alone cannot produce,” Director of the G7 Research Group John Kirton asserted in a report titled “G7 Italy: The Taormina Summit 2017.”

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Edward Bokhua

Edward Bokhua

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