Diplomats from world powers have spent the past few years trying to figure out how to address the conflict in Syria, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and Russia’s actions in its neighborhood and abroad.
Those issues remain a key focus this week, some with a renewed sense of urgency, as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with his G-7 counterparts in Italy before traveling for talks in Moscow.
The Geneva Communique calls for a new Syrian constitution and elections, but does not specify the fate of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. officials have in recent days given differing statements on the long-held U.S. policy that Assad should leave power. Tillerson said Islamic State is the focus for now, and Assad’s future is up to Syrians themselves.
“I think what the United States and our allies want to do is to enable the Syrian people to make that determination,” Tillerson told CBS News. “We’ve seen what violent regime change looks like in Libya and and the kind of chaos that can be unleashed.”
Libya is another topic for the G-7. That country has struggled with political instability since the 2011 ouster and killing of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi, with rival governments and militias seeking to assert authority and a U.N.-led process unable to establish a unified body.