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G7 Pledges Focus On Economic Growth, Tackling Extremism 

  • RFE/RL

G7 leaders take part in a tree-planting ceremony on the grounds at Ise-Jingu Shrine in the city of Ise on May 26. (Left to right: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Francois Hollande, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker)

G7 leaders take part in a tree-planting ceremony on the grounds at Ise-Jingu Shrine in the city of Ise on May 26. (Left to right: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Francois Hollande, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker)

After two days of talks in Japan, the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) leading economic powers have set global growth as an "urgent priority."

In their final statement on May 27, the leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, Italy, Germany, France, and Japan pledged to "collectively tackle" major risks to global growth, including threats to the international order from terrorism.

The declaration says a vote by Britain next month to leave the European Union would also pose a "serious threat to global growth."

The group described the migrant crisis in Europe "as a global challenge which requires a global response" of increased aid.

The summit released an action plan for countering extremist violence to help close what it called "critical gaps" in capacity and international cooperation. It endorsed efforts to improve border security and aviation security and to tighten controls on the financing of violent extremism.

The G7 statement also pledged continued assistance for the Afghan government "as it counters terrorism and undertakes reforms."

"We remain concerned by the threat to security and stability in Afghanistan, and strongly support efforts toward establishing an Afghan-led peace process," the summit declaration said.

This announcement on May 27, came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama said on the sidelines of the meeting that the Taliban were unlikely to come to the table for peace talks with the Afghan government "anytime soon."

His comments were made following the Taliban's appointment of Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader. Akhundzada replaced Mullah Akhtar Mansur, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week.

Ukraine Conflict, Obama's Hiroshima Visit

The G7 leaders also discussed the situation in Ukraine and urged all sides in the conflict there to take "concrete steps" that will lead to the complete cease-fire required under the Minsk agreements.

Their final statement said all the parties involved should fulfill their commitments "without delay" with a view to holding elections in separatist-held areas "as soon as possible."

"We reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia [in March 2014] and reaffirm our policy of its non-recognition and sanctions against those involved,” the statement added.

It also called on Russia to meet its commitments, saying the G7 leaders "stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase cost on Russia should its actions so require.”

The Minsk deal signed in February 2015 has helped reduce fighting in eastern Ukraine, but sporadic clashes have continued. The conflict has killed more than 9,300 people since April 2014.

After the talks ended, Obama headed to Hiroshima on May 27 -- the first serving U.S. president to travel to the site of the world's first atomic bomb attack.

Obama is due to lay a wreath at the cenotaph where an eternal flame remembers Hiroshima's dead.

He will be joined by bomb survivors.

The U.S. president has said previously that the visit was to honor all those who died in World War II, but ruled out any apology for the bombing.

A U.S. B-29 bomber dropped a 15-kiloton nuclear bomb on the city on August, 6 1945, killing some 80,000 people instantly.

The bombing -- and a second one on Nagasaki three days later -- is credited with bringing to an early end to World War II.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP


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