Fighting inequality as the focus of the French Presidency
A wide range of issues have been on the agenda for the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the G7 countries – Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Japan, the US and Canada – in Brittany. France is holding the Presidency of the G7 in 2019 and its main priority is fighting inequality. Moreover, the aim is to strengthen multilateralism in the face of protectionist and populist political trends.
The Foreign Ministers discussed current political issues and crises at their meeting, which also took place in a range of thematic focuses. Africa will play a prominent role, as will cyber security and the role of women in armed conflicts.
Rules for cyberspace
The first working session focused on the issue of cyber policy. The G7 countries are committed to a free, secure, generally accessible and rules based cyberspace. To this end, standards and principles for the conduct of states in the use of information and communications technology must be developed and strengthened.
Women in armed conflicts
The Ministers then discussed peace missions in Africa. The President of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat attended the meeting as a guest.
The role of women in armed conflicts is closely linked to this subject. The G7 countries Held discussions on this issue with such figures as Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, the UN body which seeks to promote gender equality, and Algeria’s Leila Zerrougui, Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
A key focus for Germany is the connection between peace, women and security, which is a priority of Germany’s membership of the UN Security Council.
Global issues and crises
Current political issues took centre-stage on the second day of the meeting, which was hone in on the Middle East, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, China, Russia and Ukraine. Fighting terrorism and smuggling will also be on the agenda, with a special focus on the Sahel region.
UN, NATO, G7
For Foreign Minister Maas, this meeting marked the end of a week devoted to multilateralism. At the start of the week, Germany assumed the Presidency of the UN Security Council, which rotates monthly, and Maas travelled to New York to this end. Immediately afterwards, he attended the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Washington, DC. The Foreign Minister is due to return to Berlin on Saturday evening.