We, the Foreign and Development Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7), and the High Representative of the European Union, are meeting today at a critical juncture for our people, our planet, our security and our future prosperity. Democracy is under pressure globally; the pandemic continues to pose acute global challenges; new technological threats are mounting; and the catastrophic effects of climate change are increasing. We commit to strengthening open societies, shared values, and the rules-based international order. We affirm that free and fair trade, and the free and secure flow of capital, data, knowledge, ideas and talent is essential to our long-term prosperity. We affirm that liberal democracy and free and fair markets remain the best models for inclusive, sustainable social and economic advancement. We commit to tackling threats jointly and committing our resources to achieve shared security. We will promote respect for, and protect, human rights for all individuals, regardless of where they live and whatever their identity, faith, gender, disability or race. We commit to working with the international community to further advance gender equality; and reaffirm the importance of focusing on educating girls, empowering women, and ending violence against women and girls.
We affirm the need to take collective action on the most pressing foreign and security challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored that global challenges require global collaboration. We reaffirm that investments in health systems will strengthen economic growth and our ability to respond to future pandemic threats. We reaffirm our commitment to working with developing partner countries, especially in Africa, to achieve a green, inclusive and sustainable recovery from COVID-19, aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, including urgent equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. We commit to supporting developing partner countries to tackle and prevent the interlinked threats of conflict, climate change, poverty, food insecurity, and the health, humanitarian, human rights and economic effects of COVID-19; and building back better so that we are more prepared for future pandemics. We are deeply concerned that the pandemic has further set back progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We commit to making increased efforts towards achieving the SDGs by 2030, and commit to ensuring that no-one is left behind.
We commit to renewing global cooperation, including strengthened G7-Africa partnerships and greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific. We welcome Australia, India, the Republic of Korea and South Africa to the Foreign and Development Ministers’ meeting as guest countries to take forward shared priorities ahead of these countries’ participation in the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June. We welcome the involvement of the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in our discussions.
Foreign and security policy
We are deeply concerned that the negative pattern of Russia’s irresponsible and destabilising behaviour continues. This includes the large build-up of Russian military forces on Ukraine’s borders and in illegally-annexed Crimea, its malign activities aimed at undermining other countries’ democratic systems, its malicious cyber activity, and use of disinformation. We express full solidarity with all partners affected by actions connected to Russian intelligence services against their interests and security, which will continue to be met with the staunchest resolve. We note with regret the deterioration in Russia’s relations with Western countries, and stress the importance of respecting the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as the essential foundation of diplomatic relations between states.
We recall our joint statement of 26 January on the arrest, sentencing and detention on politically-motivated charges of Alexey Navalny, as well as our condemnation of his poisoning on Russian territory with a military-grade chemical nerve-agent of the “Novichok” group. Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and contravenes international norms against the use of such weapons. In light of Russia’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, we urge Russia to investigate and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil without further delay. There must be accountability for those that use chemical weapons.
We remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia, and the systematic crackdown on opposition voices, human rights defenders, independent civil society, and media.
We reiterate our interest in stable and predictable relations with Russia. We nevertheless will continue to bolster our collective capabilities and those of our partners to address and deter Russian behaviour that is threatening the rules-based international order, including in the areas of cyberspace security and disinformation. We will continue to engage with Russia in addressing regional crises and global challenges of common interest such as climate change; arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation; and peaceful, sustainable economic development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
We recall our statement of 12 April and call on Russia to de-escalate the situation on Ukraine’s borders and in the illegally-annexed Crimea. We reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders including its territorial waters. We call on Russia to uphold the OSCE principles and commitments it has signed up to on transparency about its military forces and activities, including by addressing the specific concerns and questions raised under Chapter III of the Vienna Document. In this regard, we regret that Russia failed to provide a substantive response and its failure to meet with Ukraine is wholly inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Vienna Document. It is critical that Moscow now fully withdraws its forces and takes the necessary steps to help alleviate tensions. We express our deep concern over Russia’s actions to block access to parts of the Black Sea, including near illegally-annexed Crimea and the Kerch Strait, impeding access to Ukraine’s ports in the Sea of Azov. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint and diplomatic approach in this context. We underline our continued support for France’s and Germany’s efforts through the Normandy Process to secure full implementation of the Minsk agreements, as a diplomatic path for a political solution to the conflict and to lasting peace. We welcome the OSCE’s role within the Trilateral Contact Group and in this regard call on Russia and the armed formations it backs to recommit to the ceasefire. We remain fully committed to implementing sanctions, recalling that the duration of international sanctions is linked inter-alia to Russia’s complete implementation of its commitments under the Minsk agreements and to the return of Crimea to Ukraine. We unequivocally denounce Russia’s temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. We welcome in principle Ukraine’s initiative to establish an International Crimean Platform. We condemn violations and abuses of human rights on the peninsula, particularly of Crimean Tatars. We support efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy and institutions, and encourage Ukraine to make further progress on the reform agenda, namely on the rule of law, judicial reform, corporate governance, and in combatting corruption to strengthen their democracy, promote economic growth, and fulfil commitments to international donors and partners and to the citizens of Ukraine. We reiterate our full confidence in the G7 Ambassadors’ Group in Ukraine and acknowledge the role of this group in monitoring and supporting the implementation of reforms.