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G7 Finance Ministers and Central Banks’ Governors Express Concerns Over Iran and North Korea’s Activities and Discuss Transfer of Seized Russian Assets

The Group of Seven (G7) Finance Ministers and Central Banks’ Governors have expressed concern over the risks posed by Iran and North Korea. Specifically, the officials meeting in Japan have warned about North Korea and its “illicit activities” related to “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction” and recent ballistic missile launches.[0] The G7 also voiced its worries over “illicit financing risk emanating from Iran” in a joint statement published after their meeting in Niigata, Japan. The G7 pledged to fully support the international watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), for monitoring global compliance.

The joint statement also mentioned the G7’s support for the FATF’s decision to suspend Russia’s membership this year, given Moscow’s “irresponsible nuclear rhetoric”.[0] Furthermore, the group is discussing ways of transferring the Russian assets seized following the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow, with legal complexities and domestic restrictions making it difficult to do the transfers.

The G7 comprises of the world’s seven largest advanced economies, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group aims to coordinate economic policies and initiatives to achieve global economic stability and sustainable growth.

The G7 finance ministers and central bankers met in Niigata, Japan from May 11-13, 2023, to discuss a range of economic issues and challenges faced by the global economy.[1] In addition to Iran and North Korea, the officials also talked about the impact of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and climate change on the global financial system.

The discussions on North Korea come amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang conducting a series of ballistic missile tests. The G7’s strong warning about North Korea’s “illicit activities” related to “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction” highlights the international community’s concerns about the regime’s nuclear and missile programs.

The G7’s concerns over Iran’s financing risks relate to the country’s support for terrorist groups and its nuclear program. The FATF, an international organization that sets standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system, has been monitoring Iran’s compliance with its recommendations.

The G7’s discussions on transferring Russian assets seized following the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow reflect the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The legal complexities and domestic restrictions, however, make it difficult to transfer the assets to Ukraine.[2]

Overall, the G7’s joint statement highlights the challenges facing the global economy and the need for international cooperation and coordination to address them. The group’s concerns over Iran and North Korea’s activities, as well as its discussions on transferring Russian assets, demonstrate the importance of addressing geopolitical risks to achieve global economic stability and sustainable growth.

0. “Iran News in Brief – May 13, 2023 – NCRI” National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), 13 May. 2023, https://www.ncr-iran.org/en/news/iran-news-in-brief-news/iran-news-in-brief-may-13-2023

1. “G7 to draw up plans for a more robust response to bank runs (like Silicon Valley Bank)” ForexLive, 8 May. 2023, https://www.forexlive.com/centralbank/g7-to-draw-up-plans-for-a-more-robust-response-to-bank-runs-like-silicon-valley-bank-20230508

2. “Transfer of Russian assets in focus at G7 finance ministers meeting” The Japan Times, 12 May. 2023, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/05/12/business/g7-russian-assets-transfer-difficulties

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