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Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Tajani waits for ministers before the G7 foreign affairs ministers meeting at the Certosa di San Giacomo on the small island of Capri on April 17.TIZIANA FABI/Getty Images

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) major democracies met on the Italian island of Capri on Wednesday for three days of talks overshadowed by expectations of an Israeli retaliation against Iran for missile and drone attacks.

The continuing escalation of tensions between Israel and Iran and the wars in Gaza and in Ukraine will dominate the agenda of the ministers from the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and Japan.

Italy, which holds the G7′s rotating presidency, is pushing for a ceasefire in Gaza and a de-escalation of Middle East tensions, but Israel looks very likely to retaliate against Iran’s weekend attacks despite Western calls for restraint.

“No one has the right to believe that Israel can be wiped off the face of the earth. But this does not mean that we do not want peace,” Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told his fellow G7 ministers at the start of the gathering.

The G7 nations pledged support for Israel after the Iranian attack, which came in response to a presumed Israeli air strike on Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus on April 1 which killed two generals and several other Iranian officers.

The U.S. said on Tuesday it was planning to impose new sanctions on Tehran’s missile and drone program in the coming days and expected its allies to follow suit.

Tajani said the issue would be discussed in Capri, adding that European Union foreign ministers had unanimously agreed to slap fresh economic penalties on those who armed Israel’s foes and those who attacked ships in the Red Sea.

The Iranian missiles and drones launched on Saturday were mostly shot down by Israel and its allies, and caused no deaths. But Israel says it must retaliate to preserve the credibility of its deterrents. Iran says it considers the matter closed for now but will retaliate again if Israel does.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will also be a major topic in Capri, with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg scheduled to join the talks on Thursday.

“Ukraine has our unequivocal support until it is victorious and achieves a just peace,” British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in a statement as he arrived in Italy.

Germany said on Wednesday the G7 ministers would discuss how to get more air defences to Ukraine as Kyiv faces increasing pressure from relentless Russian air strikes on its energy network.

Another key issue will be ways of utilizing profits from some $300 billion of sovereign Russian assets held in the West to help Ukraine, amid hesitation among some European Union member states over the legality of such a move.

“It is vital that we agree a way forward to use sanctioned Russian assets to support Ukraine and ensure Russia pays for the destruction it has wreaked,” Cameron said.

The opening session of the meeting on Wednesday evening will focus on Gaza and Iran, with the situation in the Red Sea under scrutiny on Thursday morning. Before turning to Ukraine, the ministers will look at ways of strengthening ties with Africa.

The G7 ministers will also discuss stability in the Indo-Pacific region, Italy has said, and hold debates on issues including infrastructure connectivity, cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and the fight against fake news.

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