Italy Populist PM: President Trump Is Right, ‘Russia Should Be Back in G8’

Italys Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gestures as he speaks during a confidence debate at the Senate in Rome on June 5, 2018.
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

Italy’s new populist prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said that President Trump is right in saying that Russia should be welcomed back into the G8 nations because “it is in everyone’s best interest.”

“I am in agreement with President Trump,” Mr. Conte tweeted Friday. “Russia should reenter the G8. It is in everyone’s best interests.”

Conte’s comment followed remarks by President Trump earlier on Friday regarding Russia’s role in the group of leading industrialized nations (G7).

“With that being said, Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump said of the G7 summit, which begins Friday in Quebec. “Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?”

“Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” Trump said. “And in the G-7, which used be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

President Barack Obama and U.S. allies ousted Russia from the G8 in March of 2014, in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force,” read a statement from the White House and several other international leaders. “To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s constitution.”

“We also strongly condemn Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations,” the statement read.

Russia announced its permanent withdrawal from the G8 in 2017 at which point the group was renamed the G7.

In response to Trump’s comments on inviting Russia to rejoin the G7, Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov brushed off the remark, saying that his country has other more urgent pursuits.

“Russia is focused on other formats, apart from the G7,” the spokesman stated, referring to alternative international forums such as the G7 forum and BRICS, Sputnik News reported.

President Trump has said that G8 talks “will mostly center on the long time unfair trade practiced against the United States.”

He plans to leave the meeting early to make his way to Singapore for talks with North Korea on denuclearization.

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