WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in response to President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Russia should be readmitted into the Group of Seven (G7), a coalition of leading industrialized nations. In 2014, Russia was expelled from the group – then known as the G8 – in response to Putin’s intervention in eastern Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea.
“No world leader besides Vladimir Putin should seriously think Russia deserves to be rewarded with a G7 membership for illegally occupying Crimea, violating the international order, and interfering in democracies around the world,” said Senator Menendez. “Once again, President Trump has embraced the Russian autocrat and overlooked his malign behavior while attacking our closest allies. This is a pretty simple concept - we are a country governed by the rule of law. The rules-based order in the international community that the United States helped create has undoubtedly served the interests of the American people and benefited the world since the end of WWII. This amendment is a necessary measure to guarantee the United States stands by our obligations and to ensure President Trump makes clear that he is not opposed to the international rules-based order that benefits the United States.”
Menendez’s amendment to the annual defense policy legislation calls on the President to immediately retract his statement regarding the Russian Federation rejoining the G7. The President would also have to clearly state that the Russian Federation will never join the G7 until it fully ceases efforts to undermine the rules-based international order and ends its illegal occupation of Crimea.
The Senator also announced he plans to introduce a separate Senate Resolution after President Trump refused to sign a joint communique by all seven member-nations minutes after it was announced all G7 members had agreed to it. Menendez’s resolution, which will include the joint communique in its entirety, will express the U.S. Senate’s support for the G7’s focus on shared priorities of trade, economic growth, national security and sustainability.
A copy of the Senators NDAA amendment can be found HERE and below.
SEC. 1271. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON CONDITIONS PRECEDENT TO THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION REJOINING THE G7.
(a) Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The Group of Seven (G7) is a group of nations consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and which is joined by the European Union at annual G7 summits.
(2) The G7 states said in May 2017 in Taormina, Italy, that “we are bound together by our shared values of freedom and democracy, peace, security, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. We are determined to coordinate our efforts in promoting the rules-based international order and global sustainable development.”
(3) On March 24, 2014, the current group of G7 states suspended the Russian Federation from what was then the Group of Eight nations, in response to the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion and occupation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
(4) The G7 states worked constructively toward the imposition of sanctions by the European Union and the United States, respectively, on the Russian Federation for its aggression against Ukraine, including the illegal occupation of Crimea and its violent aggression in the eastern part of the country.
(5) Two G7 member states, France and Germany, in close consultation with the United States and other allies, helped to negotiate the Minsk Agreements in September 2014 and February 2015, and have worked within the Normandy Group format to further implementation of these agreements by the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
(6) The Government of the Russian Federation has failed to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk Agreements, including with respect to a full ceasefire, the removal of heavy weaponry, permitting the monitoring and verification of a ceasefire regime, and ensuring access for humanitarian aid to conflict-affected individuals.
(7) The Government of the Russian Federation continues to illegally occupy Crimea.
(8) On June 9, 2018, the President of the United States said, “It would be an asset to have Russia back in. I think it would be good for the world. I think it would be good for Russia. I think it would be good for the United States. I think it would be good for all of the countries of the current G7. I think the G8 would be better.”.
(9) The Government of the Russian Federation, since 2014, has expanded its aggression and undermined democratic institutions against the United States and other countries around the world, through election interference, cyberattacks, corrupt influence, disinformation, and other forms of malign interference.
(b) Sense of Congress.—It is the Sense of Congress that the President should—
(1) welcome the steadfast commitment by G7 member states to the values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law that underpin the rules-based international order;
(2) condemn the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation that led to its suspension by G7 states from the group in 2014, and which continue to the present day;
(3) immediately retract his statement of June 9, 2018, in which he called for the readmission of the Russian Federation into the G7; and
(4) clearly declare that the Russian Federation will not be readmitted into the G7 until it immediately ceases efforts to undermine the rules-based international order and ends its illegal occupation of Crimea.