05 June 2014
President Obama said the summit meeting in Belgium of the Group of Seven (G7) major economies was occasion for each to “ensure that we’re in lockstep going forward” in providing support to the Ukrainian people. Obama also urged Russia to end its support for Ukrainian separatists and enter into dialogue with Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko.
Speaking in Brussels June 5 with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama said the situation in Ukraine and European energy security dominated the two days of discussions among the leaders of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The G7 agreed that Russian President Vladimir Putin should “seize this moment, recognize Poroshenko is the legitimate leader of Ukraine, cease the support of separatists and the flow of arms, [and] work with Ukraine to engage those in the east during this process of constitutional and economic reform,” Obama said.
“If Mr. Putin takes those steps, then it is possible for us to begin to rebuild trust between Russia and its neighbors and Europe. Should he fail to do so, though, there are going to be additional consequences” in the form of more economic sanctions, the president said.
“My hope is, is that we don’t have to use it. But I’ve been heartened by the steadfastness of Europe thus far,” he said.
President Obama said he had also briefed the British prime minister on the U.S. initiative to strengthen the security of NATO and commented that the NATO Summit in Wales in September would be an “opportunity for every ally to make sure they’re carrying their share and investing in the capabilities our alliance needs for the future.”
In Europe’s response to Ukraine, “there has been consistency in affirming the core values that had been at the heart of a united and prosperous Europe, ” he said, despite the potential economic consequences that sanctions against Russia could pose to their own economies.
Obama said the situation in Ukraine has highlighted the need for greater energy security and diversified energy supplies in Central and Eastern Europe. He said each G7 country has agreed to “conduct an energy assessment to identify the possible impact of any potential disruptions and to offer ways we can better prevent disruptions and recover from them more quickly.”
The G7 is also leading by example on climate change, Obama said, adding that the United States “will continue to do our part.” He said recently announced standards for U.S. power plants aimed at reducing carbon dioxide pollution are “one of the most ambitious steps that any nation has taken to combat climate change.”
The United States has reduced its carbon emissions to their lowest levels in nearly 20 years. With the new standards, carbon emissions would be reduced by 30 percent by 2030. “It will help us meet the commitments that we made when I first came into office,” he said.
At the conclusion of the summit, the G7 issued a joint statement saying that its collective will has shown itself to be “a powerful catalyst for progress” over the past 40 years.
“Our efforts to address major global challenges have also been guided by a commitment to transparency, accountability and partnership with other concerned members of the international community. We remain bound together as a group by these values and this vision,” the statement said.