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Toronto, Apr 22 (Canadian-Media): A gathering of G7 foreign and security ministers -- an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States -- got together in Toronto with Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who invited her counterparts to her home for Sunday brunch, media reports said.
Chrystia Freeland. Image credit: Twitter handle
G7 forum offers an opportunity for G7 Leaders, Ministers and policy makers to come together each year to build consensus and set trends around some of today’s most challenging global issues
The first working session for Freeland on Sunday involved meeting with a series of non-G7 foreign ministers who are women, invited to a special outreach session.
They included representatives of Colombia, Croatia and Ghana, among others.
Besides Freeland, other G7 ministers present were Federica Mogherini, high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Ghana's minister of Foreign Affairs.
Russia and the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine dominated the working lunch later on Sunday.
It was followed by an early afternoon session on Syria, Iraq, Iran and Palestinian conflict.
They also discussed the evolving situation in North Korea, where the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, startled the world late last week by announcing a suspension in nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
This meeting was intended to lay the groundwork for G7 leaders summit in Charlevoix, Que., in early June.
Freeland announced that ahead of the annual UN General Assembly session, Canada will host a much larger gathering of women foreign affairs ministers in September.
This light, relaxed affair was in contrast to the serious discussion these leaders would be holding over the next couple of days in mostly closed-door meetings at the University of Toronto.
On Saturday, Canada and Japan signed a bilateral defence agreement, which has been in the works for months.
It will, according to a statement by Global Affairs Canada, "allow both countries to make efficient use of each other's military equipment during operations and exercises."
The agreement also reportedly smoothes the way for closer cooperation in future peacekeeping initiatives and responding to humanitarian crises and disasters.
Freeland would be joined by the security ministers from each of the seven major Western industrialized nations for joint sessions on Monday, where they will talk cyber threats and countering violent extremism.
Another major that would be discussed would be finding ways to curb human trafficking, particularly of women.
"Most victims of human trafficking are women and girls," said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale following a meeting with a roundtable of academics on Friday. "The government of Canada is committed to fighting this abhorrent attack on basic human rights and dignity."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)