G7 Summit 2018 LIVE: Trump joins Merkel for gender equality talk – as he plans EARLY exit | World | News

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The six-plus-one tone of the gathering in Quebec means the leaders from Canada, Britain, the US, France, Germany Italy and Japan are unlikely to issue a joint statement as they remain sharply divided on trade and the environment to reach consensus.

The two-day summit in Canada has been marred by fears of a trade war and tit-for-tat exchanges of hostile tweets, with US trading partners furious over Mr Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico as part of his “America First” agenda.

But French officials have indicated the EU and US will establish a dialogue on trade within the next two weeks, signalling a modest step forward at G7.

A French diplomat said: “The principle of a dialogue was agreed. Everyone agreed, including President Trump.”

Mr Trump plans to leave the summit mid-morning on Saturday, four hours earlier than originally planned, to fly to Singapore ahead of his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

But that means he will miss a working session among the leaders on climate change and clean energy, as well as talks among the G7 and poorer countries focused on the health of oceans.

The early exit also means he will be gone before allies begin closing news conferences likely to be laden with criticism of the US stance on trade and Mr Trump’s abrupt suggestion yesterday that Russia should be re-admitted to the group.

Russia was booted out in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said EU countries at the summit agreed that the conditions to readmit Russia had not been met and even Moscow seemed to reject the suggestion.

Mr Trump’s presidency has been clouded by a federal investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and possible collusion by his campaign.

Both Moscow and Mr Trump have denied the allegations.

Follow our live G7 coverage below:

4.20pm: Italy joins Trump in BACKING Russia

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he hopes the G7 can re-admit Russia as soon as possible but Italy is not seeking an overnight lifting of sanctions against Russia.

He said: “Italy thinks it is important to have a dialogue with Russia but this does not mean that the system of sanctions can be overcome overnight.

“The system of sanctions is linked to the Minsk agreement which is not fully implemented yet.”

3.50pm: US stands alone on climate

An official from the French G7 negotiating team has painted a stark picture of the divide over climate change, saying: “We have six leaders on one sideb and the United States on the other.”

3.30pm: Trump issues warning to Kim Jong-un

Mr Trump told reporters at the G7 Summit he believed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could make his country great but warned him: “It’s a one-time shot.”

He said: “I really believe Kim Jong-un is going to do something positive for his people.”

3pm:  Trump makes a statement to the G7 Summit

Mr Trump has told leaders that trade as at top of the his agenda for the G7 Summit.

He complained the US had been taken advantage of for “decades and decades” and said: “We can’t do that any more.”

The President said he had told fellow G7 nations that the US requires fair market access and end to unfair trading practices.

He said he did not blame the G7 leaders for the “unfair” trade deals.

2pm: Trump arrives late for gender equality meeting

Donald Trump arrived late for the first working session on gender equality but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau forged ahead with opening remarks without him, commenting wryly about “stragglers”.

The US President looked uncomfortable throughout the breakfast meeting.

 

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