In this June 8, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a G7 Summit welcome ceremony in Charlevoix, Canada. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo, File)

Canada opposes Russia’s participation in G7, Trudeau says

Canada does not support the proposal by U.S. President Donald Trump to invite Russia to the upcoming Group of Seven summit in the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

Trump said on Saturday he would postpone the G7 summit he had hoped to hold next month until at least September and expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India.

The G7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Russia officially joined the G7 in 1997, turning it into the Group of Eight (G8) until 2014, when it was excluded from the group after the invasion and annexation of Crimea and over Moscow’s ongoing support for pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s continued disrespect and flouting of international rules and norms is why “it will continue to remain out,” Trudeau told reporters during his daily pandemic briefing in Ottawa.

Trudeau said “it’s really important” to continue to have the G7 summits to make sure that Western democracies “we’re coordinating internationally in this time of crisis.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)

Trudeau, however, dodged a question on whether he would attend the summit if Russian President Vladimir Putin were invited by Trump, adding that “there are still many discussions to be had on what, where, how this meeting is going to go on.”

The G20 is a forum in which Western countries regularly have exchanges with various countries “that we don’t necessarily have great relations with,” Trudeau said.

“But the G7 has always been a place for frank conversations amongst allies and friends who share so much, and that’s certainly what I’m hoping to continue to see,” Trudeau said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said they would wait to see what the U.S. proposed.

“We will look at the detail of what the U.S. is proposing. It is customary for the country that holds the G7 presidency to invite other leaders to participate as guests in the summit,” he told reporters.

“Russia was removed from the G7 group of nations following its annexation of Crimea and we are yet to see evidence of changed behaviour which would justify its readmittance … We wouldn’t support it being readmitted as a member of the group.”

Trump told Putin in a phone call about his idea of holding an expanded summit with a possible invitation for Russia, the Kremlin said on Monday.

Earlier, the top government spokesperson said Russia needed more details before responding to Trump’s proposal publicly.

“President Putin is a supporter of dialogue in all directions, but in this case, in order to respond to such initiatives, we need to receive more information, which we unfortunately do not have,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Peskov said that Moscow needed to know what might be on the agenda of the proposed meeting and its format, before responding.

With files from Reuters

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