G7 Summit Ends Deadlocked on Climate Change

World | May 27, 2017, Saturday // 18:29| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: G7 Summit Ends Deadlocked on Climate Change photo: pixabay.com

German leader Angela Merkel said on Saturday that US President Donald Trump's G7 partners remained in the dark about his intentions on climate change, calling the debate at a summit in Sicily "very unsatisfactory".

"The whole discussion on the topic of climate was very difficult, not to say very unsatisfactory" Merkel said, as the two-day G7 summit of some of the world's wealthiest nations in the seaside town of Taormina, Sicily, drew to a close.

A final G7 communique on Saturday said that all member countries - except the USA - had reaffirmed their "strong commitment" to abide by the 2015 Paris climate agreement to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

Trump says he will make a final decision on whether the US will stay in the Paris climate agreement next week.

Backing out of the climate accord had been a central plank of Trump's campaign. Trump once proclaimed global warming a Chinese hoax.

The US is the world's biggest carbon emitter after China.

Italy was disappointed not to receive more backing for its call to open up more legal channels for immigration to try to slow the flow of people risking their lives to reach Europe on flimsy boats from lawless Libya..

Reuters reported that a European diplomat, who declined to be named, said: "There was very strong opposition by the Americans and British who wanted to refocus on security and water down the expansive language on freedom of movement."

The G7 also stated that they are ready if necessary to slap extra sanctions on Russia if it continues failing to honour its commitments on Ukraine, the summit declaration reads. 

"Sanctions can be rolled back when Russia meets its commitments. However, we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase costs on Russia should its actions so require," the final statement read.

The G7, urged on by Japan, also adopted common language against North Korea after a series of missile tests by the nuclear-armed nation. The G7 statement said that North Korea poses an increasing threat of a "grave nature" to international peace and security.

The G7 leaders also reached agreement on improving cooperation against terrorism in the wake of the bomb attack on a concert in Manchester on Monday night that left 22 people dead and dozens wounded.

There was relief that Trump agreed to language on trade in the final G7 communique that commits to a rules-based international trade system.

The final declaration pledged to "fight against protectionism," whilst "standing firm" against "unfair" trade practices.

The G7 is an informal gathering that meets every year under a rotating chairmanship. Its decisions are not binding as an international treaty would be, simply representing the leaders' political commitments.

The final communique was just six pages long, against 32 pages last year, with diplomats saying the leaders wanted a simpler document to help them reach a wider audience.

The G7 countries are: Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, the US, and the UK. The European Union also attends.

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Tags: G7, G7 leaders, Donald Trump, climate change, China, Manchester, Angela Merkel, Italy
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