G7 Summit

G7 ministers of foreign affairs meet

A signal of unity

Improving maritime security and strengthening the mechanisms in place in African states to deal with crises were two of the items on the agenda when the the G7 ministers of foreign affairs met in Lübeck. They also looked at the situation in Ukraine and Iran’s nuclear programme.

The G7  ministers of foreign affairs meet in Lübeck's Hanseatic Museum. The ministers of foreign affairs of the G7 states met in the Hanseatic City of Lübeck Source: Thomas Imo/photothek.net

With respect to the conflict in Ukraine, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed that Germany and France feel they have the support of their G7 partners. In the negotiations with Iran on the country’s nuclear programme there is now a chance that a final agreement can now be achieved. At the closing press conference he pointed out that, "This meeting of G7 foreign affairs ministers in Lübeck sends a convincing signal of unity."

The situation in Ukraine

He reported on the talks on Monday with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius and the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers. The talks had become necessary he said in view of the recent resurgence in hostilities that has once again cost more lives.

"It was time to get the parties to the conflict around a table and to endeavour to preserve the chance of genuinely implementing the Minsk agreements." Commenting on the response of the other G7 foreign affairs ministers to the Franco-German engagement he said, "I can say that we feel we have the support of our G7 partners."

Nuclear negotiations with Iran

US Secretary of State John Kerry reported to his G7 counterparts on the most recent compromise reached with respect to the negotiations with Iran over the country’s nuclear programme. The compromise had been hammered out the previous evening in Washington between the American government and Congress.

This compromise means that there is now a chance, said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, that "a final agreement can be drawn up at last". The goal is still to see Iran without nuclear weapons "and hopefully, in spite of all the conflicts in the region, to create a chance of achieving greater security and increased cooperation".

Improving maritime security

The G7 ministers of foreign affairs adopted a total of four papers. In addition to the closing statement, they issued a joint statement on non-proliferation and disarmament.

For the first time ever, the G7 ministers of foreign affairs turned their attention to maritime security and adopted the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Declaration on Maritime Security in Lübeck. Essentially this aims to prevent lawlessness in the field of international shipping as far as possible.

The Declaration looks not only at the safety and security of international shipping but also at "sustainability, protecting the marine environment, conflict resolution and combating illegal activities including piracy and trafficking in people". Japan, which will take over the G7 Presidency from Germany in 2016, is very much interested in this matter, and will continue work here on the basis of the Lübeck Declaration.

Joining forces to fight Ebola

The situation in Africa was another item on the agenda. The ministers of foreign affairs adopted the statement "Beyond Ebola: a G7 agenda to help prevent future crisis and enhance security in Africa".

This is intended to help strengthen Africa’s institutions and health systems. Quite apart from the Ebola crisis it is vital to "strengthen the resilience of African states so that they are better prepared to weather future crises".

Wednesday, 15 April 2015