Trump, G7 peers seek deals on terrorism, trade, climate
27 May, 2017, 07:41 | Author: Gregory Stephens
US President Donald Trump, fresh from scolding Europe over military spending, slammed "bad" behaviour in trade by Germany as acrimony dogged the start of annual G7 summit talks on Friday.
But rather than a clash of old versus new, the two-day meeting is expected to be a battle between Trump and everyone else, at least on the issues of trade and climate change, as everyone tries to arrive at a consensus.
The measure signed by the seven nations' leaders was a show of solidarity with Britain following Monday's suicide bombing in Manchester, England that killed 22 outside a pop music concert.
European leaders have also found themselves asked repeatedly to respond to President Trump's powerful speech against Islamist terrorism before 55 world leaders from Arab and other Muslim-majority nations in Riyadh earlier this week. He noted that Trump's father was born in Germany and said Trump had told the leaders, "I don't have a problem Germany, I have a problem with German trade". On shore they unveiled a 4-meter (13-foot) Statue of Liberty in a life jacket that symbolized the plight of migrants and the threat of rising seas, one effect of climate change.
Trump, who dismissed human-made global warming as a "hoax" during his election campaign, is threatening to pull the United States out of a 2015 climate deal clinched in Paris in 2015. Macron, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and British Prime Minister Theresa May will also be attending the elite club for the first time. "We need to launch an extensive dialogue with Moscow on a permanent basis", the prime minister said, TASS news agency reported. Macron offered his condolences for the Manchester attack, calling for increased European cooperation against terror "because they attack our young".
"We will bring the fight against terrorism to a higher level by relentlessly preventing, investigating and prosecuting terrorist acts, their perpetrators and supporters", said the text of a joint statement issued in the medieval Sicilian town of Taormina.
But it may not play out exactly that way, according to long-time G-7 observers. We made and saved the United States of America many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.
Trump has proposed to amend the Paris agreement, with his administration officials reportedly telling lobbyists and European diplomats that the United States will withdraw from the climate pact unless it secures concessions for the fossil fuel industry.
"As they lose ground in Iraq and Syria, foreign fighters are returning, and the group's hateful ideology is spreading online", May said.
"We will have a very robust discussion on trade and we will be talking about what free and open means", White House economic adviser Gary Cohn told reporters late Thursday.
Climate policy promises to be the real buzzkill at the G-7 party.
A Canadian government official with knowledge of the negotiations said sticking points like worldwide trade and the Paris agreement on climate change, which Trump has promised to abandon, would likely keep talks going through the night.
His pending review of USA climate policies and decision not to make up his mind before Taormina has braced environmentalists for the possibility of bland language that says little after years of increasingly stronger commitments to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and emissions of in greenhouse gases under the Paris Agreement.
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