G7 ministers meet in person for the first time in two years

Photo: EPA

Ministers from the G7 countries were meeting in person for the first time in two years on Monday in London. The discussions included the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, a post-Brexit trade deal, Iran's nuclear programme and China, dpa reported.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab met one-on-one with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ahead of the G7 meeting, where ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the US were to join.

At a news conference, Raab said Britain stood "shoulder to shoulder" with the US on issues such as Iran and Afghanistan, while also agreeing that China needs to stick to its international commitments.

Blinken said the US had "no closer ally, no closer partner" than Britain, the Press Association reported.

Raab also talked with his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi, principally about Britain's application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) - a free trade agreement of mainly Pacific nations which includes Japan.

"In my talks with Foreign Minister Motegi we discussed Japanese support for the UK’s application to join CPTPP, tackling climate change and COVID-19...", Raab said in a statement.

Members of the European Union are also attending the first in-person G7 event since the coronavirus pandemic, and representatives from Australia, India, South Korea, South Africa and the chairman of the Association of South-East Asian Nations have been invited as guests.

Britain's Foreign Office said the ministers will also discuss plans to boost girls' education and women's employment while the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

A 15-billion-dollar fund is being set up that will be administered to developing countries over the next two years. The nations are signing up to new global targets that aim to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in low- and lower-middle income countries by 2026.

The face-to-face meeting is taking place ahead of a G7 summit planned for June in the English county of Cornwall.

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