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G7 leaders from left clockwise, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama attend the first working session at a G7 summit in Brussels on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. (Yves Logghe/AP)
G7 leaders from left clockwise, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama attend the first working session at a G7 summit in Brussels on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. (Yves Logghe/AP)

Ukraine at top of agenda as Harper, G7 leaders meet in Brussels Add to ...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Brussels for the G7 summit, where the Ukraine-Russia crisis has dominated the discussion.

In a communique issued late Wednesday prior to the official start of the summit, the G7 condemned Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in March.

The G7 called on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to disarm, while urging Ukrainian authorities to use a “measured approach” to restore law and order.

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Harper began his summit day by meeting with French President Francois Hollande in a small boardroom in the French EU Council offices.

Surrounded by various officials, including Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s ambassador to France, Hollande engaged Harper in small talk in French.

Harper sat and listened and did not speak during the brief period reporters were inside the small crowded room.

This summit had been hastily arranged to replace a G8 meeting that was scheduled for Sochi, Russia, but cancelled in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

Prior to the G7 gathering, Harper met with the European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso to try to kick-start a stalled free-trade deal with the EU.

The text laying out a final agreement remains held up by points of contention such as protection of intellectual property rights in the pharmaceutical sector.

Harper, who visited Poland on Tuesday, will conclude his European visit in Normandy on Friday, where he’ll attend D-Day ceremonies, an event which is expected to include Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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