G7 toughens Russian Federation stance but Iran deal in the balance

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Russia's transgressions: G7 countries have in recent years criticized Moscow's foreign policy, including its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, its intervention in the Syrian civil war and its cyber attacks on the USA and European countries.

USA intelligence agencies have said Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election campaign, and Russia is also blamed for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain last month, which the G7 statement strongly condemned. Russia's defense ministry said it had proof that the United Kingdom was involved in staging the chemical attack in Duma to justify intervention.

"There was G7 unity on opposing Russia's malign behavior", a senior United States official told reporters, citing Moscow's failure to prevent Syrian forces from using chemical weapons and interference in Western elections.

On the second day of talks, the ministers are to exchange views on the development of Africa, cybersecurity, as well as conflict prevention and counter-terrorism, according to the Canadian government.

"Russia is so amazingly smart at kind of sowing doubt and confusion and spreading all this fake information and trying to muddy the waters".

He said talks at the ministerial meeting, which are taking place at the University of Toronto, focused on the response to the Salisbury attack, especially the co-ordinated action taken by 28 countries, including Canada, to expel more than 150 Russian diplomats in March.

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It has been nearly 30 years since any Cabinet nominee was reported to the full Senate with an unfavorable recommendation. It would be extraordinary for the Senate to confirm Pompeo after the committee did not vote to recommend him.

Mr Sullivan and Ms Freeland are scheduled to speak publicly Monday.

Under Iran's settlement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs.

Freeland told reporters: "We are working to that idea and that idea is to have a group in G7 to work together, to work against disinformation and to protect democracy". He encouraged continued dialogue with Russian Federation. Mr. Pompeo recently made headlines over a meeting he took with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during Easter weekend.

US sends deputy: The US was represented at the G7 meeting in Canada by Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan.

Freeland also noted that Japan's Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno had had dinner with the female envoys the night before.

The ministers from the world's most powerful democracies are meeting to plan for June's G7 summit of rich-world leaders in Charlevoix, Quebec but Russian Federation and North Korea will never be far from their minds. But it didn't assign blame in the case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

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