Thu, 09 Jul 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump has called Russian President Vladimir Putin to tell him about his proposal to convene an expanded Group of Seven (G7) summit later this year that would involve Russia, the Kremlin says.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Trump said last week that he would postpone until the fall a meeting of the G7 leading industrialized nations that he had planned to hold next month, and plans to invite Russia, Australia, South Korea, and India.

The Kremlin said on June 1 that Trump told Putin about his idea, but it didn't offer any details of the discussion or say whether the Russian leader accepted the invitation.

The White House confirmed the call, saying the two leaders 'discussed progress toward convening the G7.'

Trump told reporters on May 30 that the current membership of the G7 -- the United States, Canada, Germany, Britain, Japan, Italy, and France -- was 'outdated' and doesn't properly represent 'what's going on in the world.'

Russia was a member of the group for several years, making it the G8, but it was excluded from the club over its actions in Ukraine.

Trump said that he believed it would be appropriate to have Russia in the group 'because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.'

The White House statement said that Trump and Putin also 'discussed the latest efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and reopen global economies.'

The U.S. president also 'reiterated the need for effective arms control,' it said.

Putin thanked Trump for a delivery of U.S. ventilators and congratulated him on the launch of two NASA astronauts aboard the spacecraft built by Elon Musk's SpaceX company, according to the Kremlin readout.

The Kremlin said that Putin and Trump spoke of the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in space and also talked about the need to intensify a U.S.-Russian dialogue on strategic stability and steps to enhance mutual trust in the military sphere.

With reporting by AP and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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