LA MALBAIE, Quebec (AP) President Donald Trump is calling for Russia to be reinstated to the leading group of industrialized nations, now known as the Group of Seven. Trump tells reporters: «Russia should be in the meeting, should be a part of it.»

Russia was ousted from the elite group in 2014 as punishment for President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and its support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. The suspension was supported by the other members of the group, including the U.S., Canada, Japan and four European nations.

From left on the photo, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gather for the family photo at the G-7 summit, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Charlevoix, Canada.

Support from Italy

Italy’s new premier is backing President Donald Trump’s call for Russia to return to the group of industrial nations. Giuseppe Conte tweeted on Friday: «I agree with the President@realDonaldTrump: Russia should go back into the G-8. In the interest of all.» Russia was ousted from the elite G-8 group, now known as the G-7, in 2014 as punishment for President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and its support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

Conte’s populist coalition includes the right-wing League party which says sanctions on Russia over Ukraine hurt Italian exports. League leader Matteo Salvini who has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a great statesmen and says Italy will lobby for the end of European Union sanctions against Russia over the annexation of Crimea.

First working session

— The Latest on President Donald Trump and the annual Group of Seven meeting of industrialized nations (all times local): 3:20 p.m. President Donald Trump and his world counterparts have opened the first working session of a meeting of major industrialized nations in Canada.

 

President Donald Trump arrives to participate in the G7 Summit welcome ceremony, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Charlevoix, Canada.(Photo: Katu.com)

Seated between host

Trump was seated between the host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and was seen chatting amiably with both. Others leaders participating in Friday’s meeting in Quebec are from Britain, France, Japan and Italy. The European Union also participates in the annual gathering.

Trump has angered most of the leaders in attendance with his stance on trade and other policies. __ 3 p.m. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron of France have met briefly before world leaders convened in Canada.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says they discussed trade. A more formal meeting between the two is expected later Friday. Macron’s office says Trump asked to see him, and they discussed North Korea and trade during a «very cordial discussion» of about 10 minutes.

Macron tweeted video of the meeting at the Group of Seven summit site in Quebec. His caption said: «Pursuing the conversation. Engaging, keeping the dialogue alive, now & ever. Sharing, reaching out, always, to promote the interests of the French people, and all those who believe in a world we can build together. With President Donald Trump, prior to the opening of G7 Summit.»

President Donald Trump is set to descend on the annual Group of Seven meeting of industrialized nations, expecting tough trade talks as his go-it-alone policies leave him increasingly isolated.

On the eve of Friday’s gathering at a Quebec resort, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previewed what will likely be a tense two days. They stressed the need for respectful dialogue but say they will push back against new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as they have on other issues.

Trump is showing no signs of backing away from what he sees as key campaign promises. He tweeted Thursday: «Getting ready to go to the G-7 in Canada to fight for our country on Trade (we have the worst trade deals ever made), according to Associated press.»

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