PM to hold more key talks at G7 as sidelines Quad announced

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to hold another round of key talks at the G7 summit in Japan as the world’s most powerful leaders convene, with a rescheduled Quad meeting also on the agenda.

The three-day summit spans global peace, including tackling Russian and Chinese aggression, as well as the transition to clean energy and developments in artificial intelligence.

Australia announced a slate of new sanctions against Russian entities and a ban on machinery being exported to Kremlin-controlled areas in a co-ordinated effort with G7 nations to stop the invasion of Ukraine.

“The G7 is a critical body of the seven of the world’s largest democracies coming together at a time in which we have global instability,” Mr Albanese said on arrival in Japan on Friday.

“We have global instability in our security issues with the ongoing illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine, but we also have tension in our own region.”

The prime minister also cited global inflation and economic uncertainty as major issues that needed tackling.

Mr Albanese met with the local Hiroshima mayor on Friday before sitting down with his Brazilian and South Korean counterparts.

As he stood in Hiroshima where hundreds of thousands of people died when the first atomic bomb was dropped in warfare, he said the threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin showed why the world needed to remain vigilant.

“We know the consequences because we see them right here,” he said.

“We have to step up the campaign against nuclear weapons.”

The prime minister is also slated to meet with the US president and Indian and Japanese prime ministers who form the Quad after the leaders’ summit scheduled for Sydney next week was cancelled.

The White House said in a statement that the third in-person Quad leaders’ meeting would take place in Japan on Saturday.

“After President (Joe) Biden had to postpone his trip to Australia, the Quad leaders agreed that they would hold their summit in Hiroshima to ensure that the four leaders could come together to mark the Quad’s progress over the past year,” it said.

Mr Albanese said while it would be a shortened meeting, a lot of preparation work had already been done.

“We will have, I think, a successful meeting as well as successful bilaterals,” he said.

“I attended virtually the major economies forum, which all of the Quad leaders participated in … and we were able to talk about some of the things that will lead into the discussions.”

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the meeting with Mr Biden came at a pivotal time during the alliance after Australia announced how it would acquire nuclear-propelled submarines through the AUKUS pact.

Mr Marles, who is also the defence minister, and Foreign Minister Penny Wong will meet their American counterparts in the US in July.

UK sanctions target Russian metal, Ukraine grain theft

Russian metals and companies connected to the alleged theft of Ukraine’s grain will be targeted in a fresh wave of sanctions from the UK.

The UK has published plans to ban imports of Russian diamonds, copper, aluminium and nickel and announced a new wave of sanctions against Russia, targeting companies connected to the alleged theft of Ukrainian grain.

Along with the United States, Britain and other Group of Seven major economies are set to unveil sanctions and export controls targeting Russia over its war against Ukraine at the G7 summit.

US endorses plan to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jets

US officials say Ukrainian pilots will be trained in flying F-16 fighter jets in Europe in a procedure that will require months to complete.

President Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that the United States supports joint allied training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, they confirmed.

“As the training takes place over the coming months, our coalition of countries participating in this effort will decide when to actually provide jets, how many we will provide and who will provide them,” an official said.

Although the official did not say which countries would participate, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the United Kingdom would work with the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark “to get Ukraine the combat air capability it needs”.

Denmark’s defence ministry said it was ready to support the training.

The US hopes to begin the training, which will be conducted on fourth-generation fighters including F-16s, in the coming weeks, the official added.

Ukraine is seeking the jets, made by Lockheed Martin, as it presses on with its biggest advance for months against invading Russian troops before a planned counteroffensive.

Ukraine says the F-16s are far more effective than the Soviet-era fighters it still uses.

Zelenskiy’s surprise stop at Arab League on his way to G7

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has made a surprise stop in Jeddah to attend an Arab League summit, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, heavily-backed by Russia in his country’s civil war is also present now that his regional isolation ended.

“Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plays a significant role and we are ready to take our cooperation to a new level,” he tweeted shortly after arrival.

At the summit, President Zelensky told Arab leaders that “here among you” are people who “turn a blind eye” to Ukraine’s suffering, urging them to “take an honest look,” CNN reported.

Speaking in English, he told his counterparts: “Look at how much suffering the long-term wars have brought to Libya, Syria, Yemen, how many lives have been wasted by years of fighting Sudan and Somalia, in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“I hope that most of us are here for the sake of peace and justice,” he said.

Saudi state TV broadcast footage showing Zelenskiy arriving at the airport in his trademark brown fatigues and being greeted on the tarmac by Saudi officials.

— with AAP

Topics: G7
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