UK warns over reliance on Russian gas as G7 ministers meet

Dec 10, 2021, 7:10 AM | Updated: 5:08 pm
Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, left, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, wearing face...

Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, left, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, wearing face coverings to combat the spread of the coronavirus, pose for a photograph before a bilateral meeting ahead of the G7 foreign ministers summit in Liverpool, England, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. - Blinken arrived in Britain for a G7 ministers' meeting before visiting Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. (Olivier Douliery/Pool Photo via AP)

(Olivier Douliery/Pool Photo via AP)

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Britain’s top diplomat welcomed Group of Seven foreign ministers to Liverpool on Saturday with a warning that “free democratic nations” must wean themselves off Russian gas and Russian money to preserve their independence.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is hosting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other G-7 counterparts for weekend talks in the northwest England port city as the wealthy nations club faces growing tensions with Russia, China and Iran.

As concern mounts about Russia’s troop build-up near Ukraine, Truss said the G-7 meeting would be “a show of unity between like-minded major economies that we are going to absolutely be strong in our stance against aggression, against aggression with respect to Ukraine.”

Truss told broadcasters that a military move on Ukraine would be “a strategic mistake” with “severe consequences” for Moscow. The U.S. and its NATO allies are concerned Russia’s movement of troops and weapons to the border region may be a prelude to invasion, and say they will inflict heavy sanctions on Russia’s economy if that happens.

Moscow denies planning to attack Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own allegedly aggressive designs.

Truss said she wanted to work with other countries “to make sure that free democratic nations are able to have an alternative to Russian gas supplies,” a reference to the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying gas from Russia to Germany.

The Liverpool meeting will be the first international gathering for Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, a politician from the environmentalist Greens who has previously opposed Nord Stream 2.

Britain is not very dependent on Russian gas, but London’s financial district and property market are major hubs for Russian money. U.K. authorities have long been accused of turning a blind eye to ill-gotten funds from around the world.

Truss insisted Britain is willing to consider new economic measures to protect its “core values.”

“There have been decisions made by the free world … in the short term to obtain cheap energy or cheap financing, and that has a long-term cost for freedom and democracy,” she said. “And we can’t make that mistake again.”

The diplomats will also discuss China’s muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific and lagging efforts to vaccinate the world against the coronavirus at the meeting, the final major event in Britain’s year as G-7 president.

The meeting of top diplomats from U.K., the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan also comes as negotiators meet in Vienna to try to revive an ailing international deal on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Truss warned this week that the Vienna talks are “the last chance for Iran to sign up” to the deal, which was meant to rein in Iran’s nuclear program in return for loosened economic sanctions. It faltered after then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement in 2018 and Iran began ramping up its uranium enrichment.

In a speech at the Chatham House think tank, Truss urged Iran to rejoin the deal, “because we are determined to work with our allies to prevent Iran securing nuclear weapons.”

Climate change, tensions in the western Balkans, Afghanistan and North Korea are also on the agenda for a meeting that will include both foreign and development ministers from the G-7 countries.

Unity among members of the group often proves hard to find. G-7 foreign ministers last met in London in May, issuing a statement accusing China of economic mischief and human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, but offering little concrete action to deal with an increasingly forceful Beijing.

Britain is keen to work more closely with Asian nations as part of an “Indo-Pacific tilt” following the U.K.’s departure from the European Union last year — both to boost U.K. trade and as a counterweight to China’s dominance. Truss has invited ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to the Liverpool meeting, though many will be joining remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

For the ministers attending in person, the U.K. has chosen a location steeped in British history and culture.

They are meeting at the Museum of Liverpool in the city’s docklands, which were once a symbol of Britain’s global reach and economic might, then of post-industrial decline. Now the area on the River Mersey is an example of 21st century urban renewal as a leisure and cultural district, complete with a museum dedicated to the city’s most famous sons, The Beatles.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

31 bodies, some decomposing, found at Indiana funeral home

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Police are investigating after more than 30 bodies, some decomposing, were found inside a southern Indiana funeral home. Police in the Louisville suburb of Jeffersonville responded to Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center on Friday evening and found 31 bodies, including some some “in the advanced stages of decomposition,” Maj. Isaac […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Key players granted bail in Buffalo Billion corruption case

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has granted bail to a prominent Buffalo developer and other businessmen serving prison time for a bid-rigging scheme related to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic redevelopment program. U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni signed an order Friday allowing developer Louis Ciminelli and three others to be released […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

DA: Late officer justified in accidental shooting death

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania prosecutor has ruled that a late police sergeant was justified in using deadly force that resulted in the accidental shooting death of a jail guard during a hostage situation at a county courthouse last fall. Authorities said an inmate had been taken from the Blair County jail to the […]
11 hours ago
This image released by Bleecker Street shows Freida Pinto, left, and Zawe Ashton in a scene from "M...
Associated Press

‘Minions’ set box office on fire with $108.5 million debut

Families went bananas for Minions this weekend at the movie theater. ” Minions: The Rise of Gru ” brought in an estimated $108.5 million in ticket sales from 4,391 screens in North America, Universal Pictures said Sunday. By the end of the Monday’s July Fourth holiday, it will likely have earned over $127.9 million. The […]
11 hours ago
Sheletta Brundidg, left, her son Brandon, center, and NASCAR driver Brandon Brown gather Saturday, ...
Associated Press

Boy helps Brown put new spin on ‘Let’s go, Brandon’ chant

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Brandon Brown wanted a way to change the narrative behind the “Let’s go, Brandon” message after his first career NASCAR victory inadvertently fostered a chant that has been used to insult President Joe Biden. Brown found that new message thanks to the family of an 8-year-old boy with autism. Brandon […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

$2M bail set for man charged in ambush of Chicago officer

CHICAGO (AP) — Bail has been set at $2 million for a man who prosecutors say shot a Chicago police officer multiple times as the officer stepped off an elevator while responding to a domestic disturbance call. Jalen Vales, 27, of Chicago was charged Saturday with attempted murder and aggravated battery of a police officer […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
UK warns over reliance on Russian gas as G7 ministers meet