France at the G7 spoke against the US position on the confiscation of Russian nuclear weapons

France at the G7 spoke against the US position on the confiscation of Russian nuclear weapons

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday publicly spoke out against US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s stance on the confiscation of frozen Russian assets, a sign of deep divisions among the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

“European Truth” writes about this, Reuters reports.

Le Maire, speaking after a meeting of G7 finance ministers, rejected the US position and said France was convinced there was no sufficient basis in international law for this and that further work was needed.

He said any such moves must be fully backed by international law and require the support of all members of the Group of 20 largest economies, which include Russia, China and other countries critical of the United States.

G7 representatives have been trying for a year to agree on what to do with Russian sovereign assets immobilized after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022. G7 leaders asked to present possible solutions by June.

Their debate this week on the sidelines of a meeting of finance ministers of the world’s largest G20 economies in Sao Paulo showed that there is still a long way to go.

“This is not necessarily a confrontation. We continue behind-the-scenes discussions aimed at achieving a common goal, which is to find measures that comply with international law,” Japan’s Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Masato Kanda told reporters after the G7 ministers’ meeting.

On Tuesday, Yellen told reporters that there are “strong international legal, economic and moral reasons” to benefit from Russian assets, either by confiscating them outright or using them as collateral, and that the “theory of countermeasures” justifies such actions from from the point of view of international law.

Yellen stressed the urgent need to help Ukraine after military setbacks in its two-year struggle against Russian invasion.

Le Maire, when asked specifically about the countermeasures theory, said he disagreed.

“We do not believe that this legal framework is sufficient,” he said. According to him, a broad international consensus is necessary.

“This legal framework should be adopted not only by European countries, not only by the G7 countries, but also by all the member countries of the world community, and I mean all the G20 member countries. We should not introduce any differences between the G20 countries,” he said. he.

Despite the public controversy, one Western official, who asked not to be named, said the G7 was unanimous that Moscow should pay for the damage it caused. The official noted that more and more experts are confident that there is a legal way to confiscate frozen assets.

Le Maire argues that the European Union has already taken a significant step forward by using excess profits from frozen assets, a view supported by German Finance Minister Christian Lindner.

Lindner told reporters he was in favor of using interest from frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine, calling it “a realistic step that is legally secure and can be implemented quickly.”

Washington supports the idea of ​​a windfall tax, but says more substantial action is warranted given the egregious nature of the Russian incursion.

The leaders of the “Group of Seven” at the end of the summit on February 24 confirmed that will be kept immobilized assets of the Russian Central Bank in their jurisdictions until the end of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.

We will remind, the Council of the European Union on February 12 made a decisionwhich brings closer the creation of a mechanism for the use of surplus profits of frozen Russian assets on the territory of the EU for the benefit of Ukraine.

Read also: Challenges of confiscation: what will help Ukraine achieve the transfer of Russian assets.

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