The G-7 said on Sunday that time was running out to reach an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and warned of the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The foreign ministers of the world’s richest nations held a two-day meeting in northwest England’s Liverpool to try to present a strong, united front against global threats.
The G-7 host on Iran said Britain’s resumption of talks in Vienna was “the last chance for the Islamic Republic to come to the negotiating table with a serious resolution.”
“There is still time for Iran to come and reach an agreement on this,” Foreign Minister Liz Truss said at a news conference following the talks.
Negotiations to renegotiate the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers that emerged from the U.S. in 2018 under Donald Trump resumed on Thursday.
Iran claims it only wants to develop civilian capabilities, but Western countries say enriched uranium reserves could be used to build more and more nuclear weapons.
U.S. President Joe Biden has said he is ready to return to the deal, and Iranian officials say they are taking the talks seriously.
But Western countries are playing time, accusing Tehran of backing away from the gains it made earlier this year.
Truss’s comments are the first time the state that signed the original agreement has issued an ultimatum for negotiations.
Building Russian troops
Britain, which will hand over the G-7 presidency to Germany next year, cited a two-day conference in northwestern England as an opportunity to counter authoritarianism around the world.
Like Iran, which fears an invasion of the former Soviet state, Russia’s deployment on the border with Ukraine has dominated the talks.
Truss said there was “a great deal of consensus that an invasion of Ukraine would have far-reaching consequences for Russia.”
On Saturday, a senior U.S. State Department official said a “large number of democracies” were ready to join the G-7, which includes the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
Earlier this week, Biden held a virtual summit with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to express Western concerns.
He is trying to end the dispute diplomatically by sending his top diplomat for Europe and Eurasia next week to Kiev and Moscow.
Russia says the military build-up is a defense measure against Ukraine’s rapprochement with NATO.
Pope Francis raised Ukraine as he spoke to a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.
“I want to assure my prayers for dear Ukraine, all its churches and religious communities, and all its people that the tension will no longer be resolved through gunfire but through serious international dialogue,” he said after the Angelus prayer.
China is sewing
From Liverpool, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken flew to Southeast Asia as part of Washington’s pursuit of “peace, security and prosperity” in the Indo-Pacific region.
This year’s UK G-7 presidency has been dominated by Beijing’s response to widespread violations of domestic rights, as well as its growing authoritarianism in its former colony of Hong Kong.
Earlier this week, a group of human rights experts and lawyers said China had committed genocide in its Xinjiang region by establishing population control over the Muslim Uighur minority.
Beijing has denied the report, accusing it of “anti-Chinese” bias.
Truss said he and his colleagues are concerned about China’s “forced economic policy” and need to counter them with their own initiatives as an alternative measure.
“All we want to do is invest in freedom-loving democracies, create economic trade opportunities,” he added.
“That’s why we’re stepping up investment in low- and middle-income countries.”
At a meeting of G-7 leaders in Cornwall, southwest England, in June, the group announced plans for a fairer global infrastructure fund than China’s One Belt and Road initiative.
China’s trillion-dollar scheme has been widely criticized for filling smaller states, particularly Africa, with unmanageable debts.