Raab speaks of ‘likeminded countries’ after G7 meeting with US counterpart

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Dominic Raab said there is a shift towards “likeminded countries” working more closely together after holding face-to-face talks with Joe Biden’s secretary of state ahead of discussions between G7 foreign ministers in the UK.

The Foreign Secretary said there was an increasing demand for countries which shared the same values, such as the countries of the G7 and invited guests, to work together, in the face of hostile states like Russia and China.

Ahead of the first G7 foreign ministers meeting in more than two years, Mr Raab held talks with his American counterpart Antony Blinken on Monday, where they discussed issues such as Iran, China and Russia.

As the two countries forge a fresh relationship following the departure of Donald Trump from the White House, Mr Blinken said the US has “no closer ally, no closer partner” than the UK.

The Foreign Secretary emphasised the need for “clusters of likeminded countries” and said this was demonstrated in guests invited to the meeting of the G7.

Mr Raab said: “I do see the increasing demand and need for agile clusters of likeminded countries which share the same values and that want to protect the multilateral system.

“And I think you can see that in the guests that we brought in to the G7 – South Korea, India, Australia and South Africa.

“So in that organic sense I think we can see a shift towards that pattern of clusters of likeminded countries agile enough to work together.”

It comes after the Foreign Office said the G7 ministers will invest 15 billion US dollars (£10.9 billion) in development finance over the next two years to help women in developing countries access jobs, build resilient businesses and recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

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.

But the commitments come as Mr Raab faces sustained criticism for cuts to foreign aid, from 0.7% of national income to 0.5%, citing the financial impact of the pandemic.

The Foreign Secretary told the joint press conference that aid cuts had been a “difficult decision” but that the UK still has scope “to be an even greater force for good in the world”.

The first in-person meeting of G7 foreign ministers will begin on Tuesday, with allies including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU attending.

Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and South Africa have also been invited as the UK tries to deepen ties with the Indo-Pacific region.

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