G7 leaders agree to maintain sanctions on Russia, fight protectionism

By Matthew Dalton Politics Dow Jones Newswires

dpatop - President of the European Council Donald Tusk (L-R) poses next to Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merken, US President Donald Trump, Italy's Minister President Paolo Gentiloni, President of France Emmanuel ... Macron, Japan's Shinzo Abe, Britain's Theresa May and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker for the "family portrait" in front of the Ancient Greek theatre at the G7 summit in Taormina in Sicily, Italy, 26 May 2017. The heads of the G7 states meet in Sicily from 26 May until 27 May 2017. Photo by: Michael Kappeler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

The Group of Seven nations struck deals on sanctions against Russia and global trade, overcoming disputes on two issues that threatened to pit U.S. President Donald Trump against the other six leaders. 

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The nations agreed at a summit Saturday to maintain sanctions on Russia for its interference in Ukraine until the conditions of a peace process negotiated in Minsk, Belarus are fulfilled. They also promised to go further if Moscow's behavior warrants tougher action. 

"We also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase costs on Russia should its actions so require," according to a statement prepared by the seven leaders. 

On trade policy, they agreed to "fight protectionism" and backed the World Trade Organization as enforcer of global trade rules. 

"We commit to working together to improve the functioning of the WTO, to ensure full and transparent implementation and effective and timely enforcement of all WTO rules by all members," according to the leaders' statement. 

Mr. Trump's previous rhetoric on the two issues has unnerved America's closest allies. He has called for closer ties with the Kremlin and repeatedly threatened to block imports from America's trade partners, most recently Germany. 

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