Trump meeting with G-7, African leaders

Trump meeting with G-7, African leaders

NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Sicily (AP) - President Donald Trump on Saturday said his maiden first trip overseas was a "home run" and he vowed to overcome the threat of terrorism, concluding a grueling five-stop sprint that ended with the promise of an imminent decision on the much-discussed Paris climate accord.

Trump "is isolating the USA from its most important allies and those allies stood strong in the face of backsliding", Heather Coleman, climate director at Oxfam America, said in a statement referring to the Paris Agreement policy of not weakening climate-related commitments over time.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also crossed swords with Trump on free trade at the G7, complained that the U.S. president was keeping his colleagues in the dark.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised what she called "a very hard, not to say very unsatisfactory" discussion with Trump on the issue.

President Donald Trump's top national security adviser says it's a "matter of fact" that the United States stands behind NATO's common defense principle.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters that the G7 leaders agreed that climate was a priority, despite the fact that Trump is still mulling over his final decision.

And up for debate, the peril of climate change and the urgency of USA commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emission, NPR reported. Gary Gohn, Trump's chief economic advisor, said this week that the president was "leaning to understand the European position", when asked about Trump's current position on the deal.

The President, who was granted five military deferments during Vietnam, commended USA troops, saying that "you are protecting us and we will always remember that".

"So he knows that in the US, there's very strong opinions on both sides, but he also knows that Paris has important meaning to numerous European leaders".

While it isn't clear how Trump responded to the prime minister's request, his administration has mostly blocked Italian efforts to discuss resettling refugees into permanent homes, instead focusing on terrorism and security issues.

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Condemning this week's deadly terror attacks in Manchester and Egypt, Trump said such atrocities "steel our resolve". "If they can't come together on something as devastating as this, then what are they here for?" said Chris Derksen Hiebert, director of policy for World Vision International.

At the same time, several of the leaders appeared to hope this week's meeting, Trump's first, would prove a learning experience.

Before the conversation between Trump and the other G7 leaders, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni noted that all the other countries had confirmed "total agreement" to the pact, while the U.S. commitment was an "open question".

The other G-7 nations — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan — were weighing whether to issue a statement at the close of the summit reiterating their support for the Paris accord, even if the United States was not included.

Trump's surprise announcement, in the form of a tweet on the final day of his lengthy worldwide trip, comes after Trump declined to commit to staying in a sweeping climate deal, refusing to give into intense global pressure.

"I will give you my complete and unshakable support", Mr. Trump said.

Another US foreign policy expert, Derek Chollet, says it was no coincidence that the mood of the trip "changed dramatically when Trump left the controlled confines of the Middle East".

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno). U.S. President Donald Trump, left, French President Emmanuel Macron and EU Council President Donald Tusk, right, watch the Frecce Tricolori Italian Air Force acrobatic squadron performing, in Taormina, Italy, Friday, May 26, 2017. Macron was more diplomatic, claiming to see signs of progress and describing Trump as "pragmatic and ready to work". "There's a situation where it's six, if you count the European Union, seven, against one", she said.

The G-7 members were still wrestling over a statement on trade and whether it would condemn protectionism, as previous group statements have.

The final hours of President Trump's time in Italy were overshadowed by claims that his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner had undisclosed contact with the Russians during last year's United States election. The deal was considered a breakthrough after the collapse of the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009, and aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.