Putin On Trump Suggestion That Russia Return To G-7: Thanks, But No Thanks

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Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on Sunday that he appreciated President Donald Trump’s sentiment in suggesting Russia rejoin the G-7 and said he was open to a meeting with Trump to discuss it and other matters.

But he’s in no hurry to rejoin the diplomatic circle of rich nations, he said, according to the New York Times.

After being ousted from the G-7 (then the G-8) in 2014 for occupying Crimea in Ukraine, Putin joined a Chinese-commanded economic group called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Putin boasted on Sunday that the new partnership holds more global economic weight than the G-7.

“True, the seven are still richer in per capita income, as they say, but the S.C.O. economies are larger, and their population is much larger, too — half the world’s population,” Mr. Putin told reporters Sunday, according to a transcript of his remarks reviewed by the Times.

Putin also gave little weight to Trump’s rift with the other, mostly European, leaders at the G-7 summit in Canada over the weekend, when Trump decided against signing onto the group’s joint statement on trade and other environmental agreements. Putin chalked the incident up to “internal problems” for Trump.

Putin said he would be willing to meet with Trump to discuss the G-7 and other matters.

“The President of the United States has repeatedly said that he considers this meeting expedient and I agree that this is indeed the case,” he said, according to the Times.

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