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G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting, Liverpool UK, December 12, 2021
A statement by the Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, in her capacity as Chair of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting.
G7 Foreign and Development Ministers met in Liverpool on 11-12 December 2021. We discussed our shared interests and values, and our collaboration as economic and security partners. We welcomed the Glasgow Climate Pact adopted at COP26, recognising the severe security threat posed by a destabilised climate and degraded ecosystems to all nations, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. We affirmed our commitment to work together to accelerate and intensify action to keep 1.5 degrees within reach ahead of COP27 next year.
The world is facing a new, concerning threat from the Omicron variant of Covid-19. In line with the 29 November statement from G7 Health Ministers, we re-affirmed our commitment to contribute towards the vaccination of the world in 2022 to save lives and end the acute phase of the pandemic, especially in low- and middle-income countries, confirming that 657 million doses have been shared by the G7 since the Leaders' Summit in June. We also praised the exemplary work of South Africa in both detecting the Omicron variant and alerting the international community to it. We endorsed the World Health Organisation's Global Vaccination Strategy and reiterated support for all pillars of the Access to Covid Tools (ACT)-Accelerator, and reaffirmed our commitment to the Global Health Summit Rome Declaration. We committed to work together to keep supply chains open, expand regional vaccine manufacturing and regulatory capacity, reinforce health systems, and enable the equitable, timely and transparent roll-out and delivery of quality vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics and other necessary health products. We welcomed the UK's hosting of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations replenishment in March 2022, as well as the US hosting the Seventh Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria next year, to support new vaccines to tackle variants such as Omicron, and other current and future health threats.
On China, we discussed a range of issues and challenges, such as the situations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, in the East and South China Seas and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We also expressed our concern about coercive economic policies. We also strongly reaffirmed the commitments and position set out in the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' communiqué from 5 May and the G7 Leaders' communiqué from 12 June.
We have set out separately our unified position on Russia's aggression towards Ukraine. We expressed our concern about the actions of the Belarusian authorities in repressing citizens' rights and condemned the regime's orchestration of irregular migration for political purposes. We reaffirmed our recent statement calling on the Lukashenko regime urgently to change its course. We underlined the importance of supporting the European perspective, stability and security in the Western Balkans. We condemned all divisive and irresponsible rhetoric and action in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and called for dialogue to resume swiftly and for the country to refocus on a constructive agenda. We offered our resolute support for the country's territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity, and for the work of the EU Special Representative and Operation EUFOR Althea, as well as to High Representative Schmidt and the NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo. We urged Kosovo and Serbia to engage constructively in the EU-facilitated dialogue on normalisation of their relations and make progress without further delay.
We welcomed the resumption of negotiations in Vienna on restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and reiterated that Iran must stop its nuclear escalation and seize the opportunity now to conclude a deal, while this is still possible. We renewed our call on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to refrain from provocative actions and to engage in a diplomatic process with the explicit goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible abandonment of all of the DPRK's unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. We welcomed the readiness of the United States to continue its efforts in that regard and remain committed to providing support. We urge the DPRK to respect human rights for all and to resolve the abductions issue immediately. We discussed the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and agreed on the need to further step up our response, finding ways to support basic services and addressing liquidity challenges through non-state channels, particularly the UN and NGOs. We welcomed efforts in the UN and elsewhere to facilitate the international response to the humanitarian crisis. We stressed the importance of inclusive and representative politics, respect for human rights, in particular those of women, girls and minorities, countering terrorism and enabling safe passage for those who wish to leave Afghanistan. The G7 agreed to keep these priorities at the centre of any engagement with the Taliban: we will continue to judge the Taliban by their actions, not by their words.
On Libya, we reiterated our support for free, fair, inclusive and credible presidential and parliamentary elections starting on 24 December. We renewed our call for all Libyan political actors to refrain from actions that undermine the political process and to adhere to the election results. We agreed on the importance of the withdrawal of all foreign fighters, foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay. We expressed our strong support for AU High Representative Obasanjo's mediation efforts in Ethiopia and called for an immediate ceasefire as well as comprehensive, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to all parts of Ethiopia without delay. We noted the assessment of the Joint Investigation of the OHCHR and Ethiopian Human Rights Commission that violations and abuses in Ethiopia have been committed by all parties to the conflict, a number of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and we agreed with their recommendation for an additional independent investigation. We strongly condemned the military take-over of 25 October in Sudan, which has put at risk the progress made by the civilian-led government since the 2019 revolution. We were encouraged by the release and reinstatement of Prime Minister Hamdok and called for the immediate release of all political detainees, accountability for human rights violations, and an inclusive and consultative approach to deliver the democratic transition. We agreed to continue to support the people of Sudan including through humanitarian aid. Other support would need to reflect progress made by the transitional government on returning to a credible and sustainable civilian-led transition process. On Somalia, we stressed the need for the urgent completion of peaceful and credible elections, progress on building a reliable security transition, the development of effective federal structures and measures to address the dire humanitarian challenges. We expressed support for the G5 Sahel countries, emphasised the need to uphold transition commitments in Mali and to support further progress in Chad, as well as improved humanitarian access and adherence to international human rights obligations and commitments. We reiterated our grave concern regarding the destabilising role of the Russian mercenary group Wagner in Africa, and specifically reports of negotiations with Wagner in Mali. We agreed to support regional efforts to counter the threat of terrorism extending from the Sahel. We reaffirmed the importance of the G7 Leaders' $80 billion commitment to invest in the private sector in Africa over the next five years.
G7 Ministers were joined by their counterparts from Australia and the Republic of Korea, and, for the first time, by Foreign Ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for discussions on the Indo Pacific. We discussed the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and based on the rule of law. We reaffirmed our strong engagement and co-operation in the region, including on quality infrastructure, green transition, sustainable economic development and technology. We also discussed regional and security issues, in addition to maritime cooperation and state behaviour in cyberspace. We expressed deep concern about developments in Myanmar, including the recent sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi and others, underlining our support for ASEAN's Five Point Consensus and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained arbitrarily, for an end to violence, for utmost restraint, and for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
We discussed and emphasised the need to bolster our efforts to detect, deter and respond to state threats in order to protect our people, infrastructure, economy and values. We endorsed the Non-Proliferation Directors' Group statement published in April.
We reaffirmed our commitment to gender equality and to educating girls; empowering women, including by advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights; and ending violence against women and girls. We recognised the importance of a survivor-centred approach to conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) and agreed on the need to strengthen the implementation of the international architecture around CRSV.
Building on the G7 Leaders' Statement of 3 December, we reaffirmed shared principles for sustainable, resilient and quality infrastructure investment and development finance, and discussed the importance of reliability, transparency and inclusivity. We agreed to advance prosperity, build resilience and combat the climate crisis, including by advancing the implementation of existing international principles and standards, in particular the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment. This quality investment should support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and international climate and environment commitments, including those recently made at COP26, across the key areas of climate change; health; digital, transport and energy connectivity; education and gender equality and be underpinned by strong social, labour, environmental, transparency and financial standards, including debt sustainability, as well as being open and economically efficient whilst protecting intellectual property rights and individual freedoms. We called on all actors to adhere to internationally recognised rules and standards, including those for lending and investment. We discussed how to strengthen each of our individual development finance initiatives to jumpstart investment and mobilise resources, in partnership with developing countries.
Following discussions at the US Summit for Democracy, we committed to work together and with partners to promote and defend open societies and support democracy at home and around the world, reaffirming our commitment to the Carbis Bay Open Societies Statement. We highlighted the importance of defending media freedom, including through the protection of journalists, in particular women journalists. We reiterated the G7's resolve to deter and end arbitrary detention for diplomatic leverage in state-to-state relations, and advocated for new endorsements of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. We underscored the importance of the UN Framework for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace, based firmly in existing international law. We reaffirmed G7 commitment to further our understanding of how international law applies to States' conduct in cyberspace, and to cooperate in tackling the growing threat of malicious cyber activities.
It has been a privilege to Chair the G7 Presidency Foreign and Development track and I thank all G7 members and partners who have contributed so much this year. I look forward to Germany's 2022 G7 Presidency and to building on our shared priorities and values.
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