The G7 has evolved into a dynamic engine which is working together to drive things forward in North America, Europe, Asia and beyond: we are in the process of steering 600 billion US dollars into key global infrastructure investment. We have increased the funding for the World Bank and the IMF in order to give our partners alternatives to China’s financial instruments. However, we also have to gain more trust from countries in South America, Africa and Asia. They rightly point out that in many respects the international order still reflects the world of the last century. I want us as the G7 to place ourselves at the forefront of those who want to make the international order fairer and more sustainable and who want to further develop it in this way. To achieve this, it is above all important that we listen carefully to the concerns of our global partners.
As the G7, we have condemned Hamas’ abominable acts of terror and we underscore Israel’s right to defend itself within the parameters of international law. We are deeply concerned about the disastrous plight of men, women and children in the Gaza Strip. As the G7, we provide around two thirds of the funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). We are thus the key donors for humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians, and have been for many years. We will call on other financially strong donors to provide more assistance for UNRWA. And we will discuss how we can now pull together to ensure that humanitarian pauses are implemented in order to alleviate the suffering of people in Gaza. To me, it is clear that the Hamas terrorists have brought untold suffering to Israel and the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza with the horrific attacks of 7 October. Hamas must not be allowed to determine the fate of people in the Gaza Strip. During our discussions in Tokyo we will therefore also have to think ahead, for example we will have to talk about practical steps towards a two-state solution.
Ukraine remains at the very top of the G7 agenda. There is so much at stake there for us in Europe, but also the entire G7: if we now ease up our support for Ukraine, Putin will ruthlessly take advantage of that – with terrible consequences for people in Ukraine and Europe. Other players in other parts of the world would also draw the wrong conclusions. That is why it is so important that we as the G7 decisively and comprehensively continue our support for Ukraine. We will therefore, for instance, continue to work together on an air defence system for Ukraine.
There is a harsh wind blowing in the Indo-Pacific region. At the same time, the region is becoming ever more influential, both economically and politically. Strong economic and political forces are now clashing with each other there. Japan has rightly made this the focus of its Presidency. Since 24 February 2022, we have learned a painful lesson, namely that aggressive rhetoric or fantasy maps can become a dangerous reality. Today we have to work together to ensure that no new theatres of war emerge whose shockwaves would have a considerable impact on us all.
As democracies, we can only hold our own in a systemic competition with autocratic forces if our friends around the globe sense that we are serious.