LONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 20 – Britain announced Tuesday that G7 foreign and development ministers will hold their first face-to-face meeting in two years next month, as part of the country’s presidency of the wealthy nation grouping.
The last meeting of foreign ministers from the world’s leading economic powers took place in the seaside resort of Dinard, northwest France, in April 2019.
Contact since then has been forced online by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said strict Covid-secure measures, including daily testing, would be in place for the meeting, which takes place in London from May 3 to 5.
His office described it as a “crucial opportunity to revitalise in-person diplomacy”, and would focus on the global response to the pandemic, in particular on vaccines.
The meeting was a chance “to show how the world’s biggest democracies work together” on a range of pressing issues, he added in a statement.
Other areas to be discussed include targets for girls’ access to education, climate finance goals, and ways to tackle famine and food insecurity.
G7 leaders are expected to attend their annual summit in Cornwall, southwest England, in June. Last year’s event was cancelled in the United States.
Foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, will be joined by representatives from the European Union.
India, Australia, South Korea, South Africa and the head of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have also been invited.
Britain is also hosting the UN climate change summit COP 26 in Glasgow in November. The conference was postponed last year because of the global health crisis.
British ministers are keen for it to go ahead in person. Environment Secretary George Eustice said on Sunday it would be “much more effective” than holding the event virtually.