G7 talks: Trump allowed time over Paris climate change deal

International News

Leaders of the G7 group of rich nations have failed to agree a statement on climate change.

Six of the leaders will instead give US President Donald Trump time to decide if he will continue to implement the Paris accord, sources said.

Mr Trump, who once dismissed global warming as a “hoax”, has previously threatened to pull out of the deal aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions.

This is Mr Trump’s first G7 summit – during his first foreign trip.

He told his fellow G7 leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan on Friday that he had not yet decided whether or not to endorse the 2015 deal.

The summit has agreed a statement on fighting terrorism. Leaders were still discussing trade, focusing on Mr Trump’s opposition to previous statements by the group against protectionism.

Why is there no deal on climate change?

French sources at the summit told AFP news agency that as the US was evaluating its policy on climate, the six other G7 countries would still reaffirm their commitment to Paris “while taking note” of the US position.

Other sources confirmed this to Reuters agency.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the discussion on climate change had been “very unsatisfactory”.

“We have a situation of six against one, meaning there is still no sign of whether the US will remain in the Paris accord or not.”

Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday: “I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!”

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is also in Sicily for the meeting, told the BBC earlier that the accord would survive regardless of Mr Trump’s position.

What about trade?

The G7 has been a champion of free trade since its inception.

The leaders’ last summit in Japan last year stressed the need to avoid protectionism. But this was before the election of Donald Trump and his campaign slogan of “America First”.

There has been concern that the US president might promote a protectionist agenda.

German weekly Der Spiegel quoted Mr Trump as saying in a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday that Germans were “very bad” regarding car exports to the US.

During his election campaign last year, Mr Trump threatened customs duties in retaliation for Germany’s trade surplus with the US, saying it owed “vast sums of money” to the US.

How about migration?

Leaders from Tunisia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Niger and Nigeria took part in the discussions in Sicilian town Taormina earlier on Saturday.

Italy is keen to encourage the world’s wealthiest nations to support African countries in developing their economies, so fewer young people will feel forced to make the dangerous journey to Europe.

However, a diplomat told Reuters that other Italian proposals – which looked to highlight the benefits of migration and promote a major initiative on food security – were dismissed ahead of the summit.

According to the source, Mr Trump’s administration was unwilling to highlight benefits of human mobility, Reuters reported.

A statement originally intended to be separate and run into several pages is now expected to be condensed to two paragraphs.

So far this year, more than 1,500 migrants are thought to have drowned in the Mediterranean.

How has Mr Trump’s trip gone?

Once his first foreign trip draws to a close on Saturday, President Trump will return to the US where his approval ratings are low and he is coming under increasing pressure over alleged Russian meddling in November’s election.

His chief-of-staff, Reince Priebus, said Mr Trump had shown “his commitment to confronting evil, promoting peace and putting America First on [a] historic and highly successful first trip abroad” in a tweet on Friday.

Meanwhile, US media have already been casting their judgements:

  • Conservative daily The Washington Times said Mr Trump “neared the end of his first foreign trip Thursday by largely fulfilling a transformative agenda that was more ambitious than anything Mr Obama tried overseas during his first year in office”. It went on to note “the president has made no major gaffes on the trip”
  • But James P. Rubin, a former assistant secretary of state for Bill Clinton, was far less forgiving. Writing in Politico Magazine, he described Mr Trump as doing little more than “muddling” through the engagements. Mr Rubin went on to say that “despite the highly staged events designed to pump up Trump’s image, the new administration has done nothing on this trip to restore respect and admiration for US international leadership”
  • Broadcaster ABC News, meanwhile, chose to focus on the President’s “awkward body language moments” – including pushing the Montenegrin prime minister out the way.

However, headlines in the US continue to be dominated by alleged links to Russia, and there are whisperings of discontent within his own party over policy decisions.

Where else has Trump been this week?

Making his first foreign trip as president, he came to Sicily from Brussels where he had held talks with EU and Nato leaders.

At Nato headquarters, he complained that many Nato member states were not spending enough on defence, expecting the US to bear the burden.

Before that, he visited Pope Francis in Rome and toured the Middle East – first Saudi Arabia, then Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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Go to Source: BBC

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