(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) PARIS, Aug 25 (KUNA) -- Leaders of the G7 countries meeting in Biarritz Sunday have found a consensus on relations with and policies toward Russia and have ended divisions on whether Russia should be re-admitted to the powerful group after a five-year exclusion, local French media said.
In 2014, Russia was excluded from the then "G8" group, bringing the number of participants back to seven and this has remained the case until today.
Russia's exclusion was made because of its annexation of the Crimea, which has been historically under Russian and Ukrainian sovereignty and has a large Russian-ethnic population.
Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to Paris to hold talks with G7 President Emmanuel Macron on August 19, but did not express any particular interest in rejoining the G7.
Going back to a G8 situation with Russia rejoining "is not an aim in itself" for Russia, Putin said publicly.
At the same time, ahead of the three-day meeting in Biarritz, US President Donald Trump had tweeted that Russia should be brought back into the group, but this met with strong objections from other members, particularly from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
France Info radio reported from the G7 venue that there is now agreement that it is "too early" for a move to renew Russian membership but participants urged a "reinforcing" of contacts with Moscow.
Russia was placed under European Union sanctions because of the Crimean annexation and an ongoing conflict in East Ukraine that has killed 13,000 people, including many civilians, since 2014.
Russia is blamed for militarily supporting East-Ukrainian separatists who are Russian-ethnic populations, complaining against discrimination from Kiev.(Pick up previous)