Obama at G-7: US, leading allies ‘stand united’ on world challenges

World Today

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the G-7 summit in Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, Monday, June 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama says the U.S. and its leading allies “stand united” on some of the world’s most pressing challenges at the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Germany.

Obama says the Group of Seven leading nations stand behind Ukraine and agree that economic sanctions should remain in place against Russia until it fully implements a cease-fire with Ukraine that has been violated repeatedly.

He says they’ve also agreed to approve a strong global climate agreement later this year in Paris.

Obama added that helping Greece carry out key reforms to avoid economic default and return to growth was another point of agreement.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that g-7 leaders “unanimously condemned” Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year, also adding that the only solution to the conflict was a political one.

“We agree that the removal of sanctions is tied to the implementation of Minsk and we are also ready — should this be necessary although we don’t want that — to toughen sanctions if the situation so requires. But we believe that we must do everything to push ahead with the political process of Minsk,” Merkel told a news conference on the closing day of the meeting.

Merkel also said that G-7 countries are to support Ukraine in reforming its economy and stamping out corruption.

Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron and European Council President Donald Tusk said they hoped the G-7 would present a united front on sanctions towards Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

European Union leaders agreed in March that its sanctions on Moscow over its role in Ukraine would stay until a ceasefire agreement reached in the Belorussian capital of Minsk on Feb. 12 is fully implemented, but a formal decision has yet to be taken.

Russia, which annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in March last year, denies providing pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine with weapons and soldiers.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking earlier on Monday, urged Western powers to ensure that Kiev meets its obligations under the agreement, which include pulling back heavy weapons and allowing more autonomy in regions held by the separatists.


The Nigerian government says new President Muhammadu Buhari has told France’s leader at the G-7 summit that his country would welcome greater support from other nations in its effort to end Boko Haram’s insurgency.

A government statement said Buhari also said Monday that Nigeria would like more intelligence on Boko Haram’s links with the extremist Islamic State group, its movements and training and the sources of its weapons. It said that, at the meeting with French President Francois Hollande, Buhari reaffirmed his government’s “total commitment to ending Boko Haram’s insurgency in the shortest possible time.”

The Islamic extremist uprising has killed an estimated 13,000 people and forced 1.5 million from their homes.

Buhari took office on May 29.


U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has warned world leaders that efforts to fight terrorism can misfire if they don’t respect fundamental rights.

Ban told the Group of Seven meeting in Germany on Monday that security measures and even military action may be necessary to combat violent extremists.

But he cautioned that “when counter-terrorism efforts ignore the rule of law and violate fundamental rights — which they do far too often — they not only betray the values they seek to uphold, but can also end up further fueling violent extremism.”

Ban said targeting entire minorities increases bitterness, radicalism and extremism within those communities.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel says there is “not a lot of time” to work out a deal over more bailout money for financially troubled Greece.

Merkel said at the Group of Seven summit in Germany on Monday that Greece needs to agree to take steps to straighten out its finances and economy, as it negotiates with other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund for more bailout loan money.

Greece is dangerously close to running out of money and defaulting on debt repayments to the IMF and the European Central Bank. A default could worsen Greece’s situation and perhaps force it out of the euro

Merkel said that “we want Greece to remain part of the eurozone but we’ve got the clear message that solidarity… requires Greece to implement measures.”

Fossil fuels

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Group of Seven wealthy democracies have agreed that the world should phase out the use of fossil fuels by the end of this century.

Merkel said Monday that the G-7 leaders committed themselves to the need to “decarbonize the global economy in the course of this century.”

That is a technical term for ending the use of oil, gas and coal — but not nuclear power — and replacing them with alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar power.

Merkel had pressed for the G-7 to agree on the goal so it can be put forward at a summit on climate change later this year in Paris. Burning carbon-based fuels such as oil and gas releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is blamed for global warming.


French President Francois Hollande said on Monday it was likely that European Union sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine would be extended until the end of the year.

The White House says President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande are in agreement on some of the world’s vexing problems, including Russia’s actions in Ukraine and keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The two leaders met Monday on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of Seven leading democracies being held in Elmau, Germany.

Obama and Hollande agreed that economic sanctions against Russia should stay in place until Russia fully implements terms of a peace accord with Ukraine. They also agreed to stay united in pursuit of a deal with several other world powers to restrict Iran’s nuclear program.

France at times has taken a harder line and expressed more skepticism than Washington on the Iran talks.

The White House says the leaders also discussed climate change, trade, countering Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, and instability in Libya.

Compiled from wires by Reuters and The Associated Press