Within the meeting, for the first time, the G7 held discussions with ASEAN Foreign Ministers, showing the urgent need to strengthen multilateral cooperation to jointly repel the epidemic and promote recovery.
The British media shared that the ministers of the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan and representatives of the European Union (EU) focused on discussing growing challenges in the new international situation.
The UK, which currently holds the G7 rotating presidency, has invited Australia, the Republic of Korea, India and South Africa to participate in extended sessions to strengthen cooperation in the areas of national and regional security as well as discussed measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic… The focus of this meeting was that the foreign ministers of ASEAN countries participated in discussions with their G7 counterparts for the first time.
Ahead of the meeting, the UK announced that the G7 will host friends and partners to discuss how to build closer global relationships in terms of economy, technology, and security to bring benefits to the people.
It is evident that the message the host country wanted to convey is that this event is not only an opportunity for the G7 to continue to show solidarity and find a unified voice on many issues, but also an opportunity to promote the relationship among like-minded countries, as stated in the statement of the British Foreign Secretary. The statement was emphasised in the context that ASEAN is increasingly proving its prestige and position globally and is an area that all G7 members pay special attention to.
Regarding the Ukraine border crisis, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that the G7 had agreed to bring the parties back to the negotiating table to promote resolution of the issue through dialogue. The top G7 diplomats also exchanged views on many international issues, such as security in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as efforts to restore the Iran nuclear deal, and so on.
Controlling the COVID-19 pandemic was also one of the main topics on the agenda discussed at the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting, especially in context of the recent growing concern about the spread of the Omicron variant. The list of countries with confirmed cases of the Omicron variant continues to grow every day.
On December 11 in particular, the opening day of the meeting, the host country, the UK, confirmed an additional 633 cases of Omicron infection, the highest level since the new variant appeared in this European country.
The UK Health Security Agency predicted that if Omicron continues to spread in the UK, the UK will have about 1 million cases of this new variant by the end of December 2021 and may become the main infectious variant. Health experts warned that without strengthening epidemic prevention measures, Omicron could claim the lives of 25,000 to 75,000 people in England by the end of April 2022.
Following the positive messages sent from the G7 Summit held in the UK in June, the G7 wants to continue to prove that the group is not a “closed club”, only for developed countries. Faced with the fact that no one is safe until everyone is safe, the G7 is affirming a stronger and united comeback, ready to work with partners to fight the pandemic and tackle common challenges.