Important player Russia needed in G8 if world crises are to be solved – Italian PM

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte argues that Russia has to be allowed to join the G7 (to become G8), stating that some problems are currently unsolvable because President Vladimir Putin doesn't have a seat at the table.

“You have to move to get to a G8 with Putin sitting at the table, to be able to deal with problems that we are currently unable to solve because we are not all sitting around the table,” Conte said during a Monday press conference.

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Russia is an “important player for all international crises,” which is precisely why dialogue with Moscow is extremely necessary.

Conte also weighed in on the issue of sanctions against Moscow, believing they're not the answer to solving problems. Rome does not want them to harm Russian civil society or businesses, he argued. The official still admitted that Rome consented to having restrictions renewed, as he understands they are linked to the Minsk agreement protocol.

It's not the first time that the Italian leader has expressed a similar desire to have Russia back in the G8. It has been the Group of Seven (G7) ever since other members opted to suspend Moscow over the reunification of Crimea with Russia, which they call an “annexation.”

In June, Conte said it was “difficult, if not impossible” to find “realistic and long-lasting” solutions to world crises without Russia being part of that discussion.

US President Donald Trump agrees, also saying in June that Russia should be admitted back into the group. “Whether you like it or not, it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run… they should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

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Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One, June 29, 2018

Meanwhile, German MPs have also rallied for Moscow to be allowed back at the table, with the head of the parliamentary faction of the Left Party, Sahra Wagenknecht, telling the DPA news agency in April that peace in Europe and the Middle East is only possible if the West cooperates with Russia.

As for Russias take on it all, President Putin said during the G7 gathering in Canada, in June, that the leaders of the member countries should end their “creative babbling” and get to work on real issues. That comment came after the groups members, except the US, endorsed a statement which expressed solidarity on Russias so-called “destabilizing behavior.”

Kremlin has made it clear that if other states are willing to work together once again, Moscow is willing to do the same. “As for Russias return to the seven, the eight [G7, G8] – we have not left it. Our colleagues once refused [in 2014] to come to Russia due to well-known reasons. Please, we will be happy to see everyone in Moscow,” Putin stated in June.

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