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Trump wants to re-invite Russia to the G7 and Macron agrees with him



Shortly before his scheduled attendance at the Group of 7 industrialized nations summit, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that it would be “appropriate” to readmit Russia to the group.

“I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday. “I could certainly see it being the G8 again.”

The positions is controversial, given the stance other G7 members have taken against Russia in the past. It expelled from the then-G8 in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The president argued it doesn’t make sense to exclude Russia — and its leader President Vladimir Putin — from the gathering “because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.”

He said of the potential re-invitation, “If somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably.”

Trump didn’t mention Crimea or suggest that Russia would need to make any concessions in order to rejoin the group during his Tuesday comments. Instead, the president blamed his predecessor for Russia’s exclusion. (Last year, Trump claimed that “Obama allowed Russia to take Crimea.”)

“I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in,” Trump said on Tuesday. “So he wanted Russia out.”

Read more: Trump scraps trip to Denmark after its prime minister rejected his idea of buying Greenland

Late on Tuesday, a senior administration official told CNN that French President Emmanuel Macron said he supported inviting Russia back into the group during a Tuesday phone call with Trump.

The official said Macron, who will host this year’s G7 in Biarritz, France, brought up the topic.

This contradicts Macron’s recent public statements on the issue. Earlier this week, the French leader told Putin he would not support inviting Russia back into the group until it helps promote peace in Ukraine.

Trump made similar comments during last year’s G7 summit in Canada, telling reporters then, “Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run … they should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

Putin has not appeared concerned about his country’s exclusion from the international meetings.

“How can I come back into an organization that doesn’t exist?” he said on Monday. “It’s the G7, not the G8.”

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