Global News

The personal is political for Canada's foreign minister

The personal is political for Canada's foreign minister

A gathering of G7 foreign and security ministers got underway in Toronto on a slightly informal note with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland inviting her counterparts to her home for Sunday brunch.

"There was G7 unity on opposing Russia's malign behaviour", the senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters at the end of the first day of meetings in Toronto.

In addition, the G7 foreign ministers have called on Russian Federation to cease this behavior, which is highly detrimental to prospects for constructive cooperation.

Sullivan opted instead to highlight the North Korea nuclear crisis in his closing summit remarks, following Pompeo's secret mission to the Hermit Kingdom two weeks ago to pave the way for a Trump meeting with its leader, Kim Jong Un.

On Sunday, Freeland also held a meeting with female foreign ministers from non-G7 countries - TV cameras captured her riding her bicycle there from the brunch - and announced Canada would host the world's female foreign ministers for a conference in September.

Freeland views the clash of the forces of democracy and authoritarianism as a defining feature of our time and she has singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin as a major disrupter.




Donald Trump's envoy to Canada says her president is leading global efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons arsenal. Acting US Secretary of State John Sullivan called on Moscow to stop creating "impediments to peace" in Syria and to play a role in ending the seven-year-long conflict. Trump has nominated Pompeo as his next secretary of state, but he isn't in Toronto because he continues to face opposition to his confirmation.

The G7 ministers will also be tackling the issue of how best to deal with foreign fighters who are returning from Middle East battlefields.

"Most victims of human trafficking are women and girls", said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale following a meeting with a roundtable of academics on Friday.

She said her male Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, was the only man at Saturday's dinner table.

The US said its priorities also included Iran's "malign" regional activities and ending North Korea's nuclear programme.

John Kirton, a professor of political science and co-founder of the G7 research group at the Munk School of Global Affairs, said what came out of the meeting this weekend is a renewed focus on Russian Federation.


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