Trump faces G7 squeeze on climate change, trade at Sicily summit

Trump faces G7 squeeze on climate change, trade at Sicily summit

Leaders of the world's rich nations braced for contentious talks with Donald Trump at a G-7 summit in Sicily Friday after the USA president lambasted North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies for not spending more on defense and accused Germany of "very bad" trade policies. Senior officials are preparing to work through the night of Friday-Saturday in a bid to bridge what appear to be irreconcilable differences over Trump's declared intention of ditching the USA commitment to the landmark Paris according on curbing carbon emissions.

He said it was "also caused by factors that can not, or at least can not directly, be influenced by economic or financial policy measures in Germany, for example the oil price, the euro exchange rate, but also structural factors such as demographic developments".

The chairman of the European Union's council says he agrees with President Donald Trump that the worldwide community should be "tough, even brutal" on terrorism and Islamic State.

Mr Macron met Mrs May just before the summit and promised that France would do "everything we can" to help Britain in the fight against terrorism, the two leaders putting the vexed issue of Britain's pending departure from the European Union to one side.

Seeking to defuse the row, Trump pledged on Thursday to prosecute those responsible for the leaks and described the relationship with Britain as "cherished".

Hosts Italy hope the luxurious, relaxed surroundings will give the rich-nation leaders a rare chance for wide-ranging debate on an array of worldwide issues, including Syria, North Korea and the global economy.

Gary Cohn, the president's chief economic adviser, later told reporters that the comment was directed only at the trade issue.

The so-called G-7 group of nations will hold two days of talks in the Sicilian city of Taormina, at the foot of the Mount Etna, the region's most active volcano, after what could be described as an explosive gathering of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Brussels Thursday that could set the tone for a weekend summit focused on trade and climate change. However, it was kicked out in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea.

G7 leaders end summit split on climate change
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with him at length about the climate deal during a meeting Thursday in Brussels . Almost every nation that signed the 2015 agreement has agreed to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

G7 leaders held annual summit talks Friday with divisions on trade and climate change, and fresh friction surrounding Donald Trump, threatening to undermine a show of unity against jihadist terrorism.

Germany, the G7 member with the largest trade surplus, and France, which wants to defend the legacy of the Paris Accord, are the countries most likely to disagree with Washington's position.

Climate policy promises to be the real buzzkill at the G-7 party.

Japan was using the summit to air its concerns about North Korea with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set to warn that Pyongyang "is a grave threat not only to East Asia but also to the world".

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, the host of this year's G-7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, spoke Friday as the two-day summit of the world's wealthy democracies began.

Aides in the White House are directly involved in the talks, said the official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. "Italian presidency will try to ensure it is a useful one, capable of bringing the different positions closer together".

Italy chose to stage the summit in Sicily to draw attention to Africa, which is 140 miles (225 km) from the island at its closest point across the Mediterranean.

The leaders of Tunisia, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria and Kenya will join the discussions on Saturday to say what should be done to encourage investment and innovation on their continent.

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