G-7 ministers to hold first in-person talks in 2 years

LONDON — Foreign and development ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations will be meeting in London this week in their first face-to-face discussions in two years, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holding talks with British host Dominic Raab later Monday.

The withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a post-Brexit trade deal are likely to feature in the discussions between Blinken and Raab. A possible prisoner exchange deal with Iran is also likely to feature in their talks.

Speculation has mounted that the United States and the U.K. are in discussions with Iran over the release of prisoners, which could see the release of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Early Monday, Blinken held bilateral talks Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on an array of subjects including the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis as well as raising concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

On Tuesday, the full G-7 will meet. In addition to the other members of the G-7 — Canada, France, Germany, Italy the European Union — representatives from Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, and South Africa have also been invited.

Before the meeting, Britain’s Foreign Office said the G-7 ministers will invest $15 billion in development finance over the next two years to help women in developing countries access jobs, build resilient businesses and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

They are also expected to sign up to new targets to get 40 million more girls into school, and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in poorer nations by 2026.

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