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Friday, 15 January 2021

G7 or G5? Trump and Johnson add unpredictability to French summit

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G7 or G5? Trump and Johnson add unpredictability to French summit
G7 or G5? Trump and Johnson add unpredictability to French summit

Brexit Britain's overtures to U.S. President Donald Trump risk complicating the search for common ground this weekend at a G7 summit overshadowed by a trans-Atlantic rift over trade, Iran and climate change.

Francis Maguire reports.

The clock ticks down to the 45th G7 meeting in France.

Where summit host French President Emmanuel Macron will hope to avoid a repeat of last year's fiasco in Canada, When Donald Trump left early and ordered U.S. representatives not to endorse the final communique.

Trump might find a new friend this year, though, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes his debut on the global stage.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR ADVISOR FOR EUROPE AT THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES, FRANCOIS HEISBOURG, SAYING: "The combination of two personalities (Trump and Johnson) who are not well known for their self-control is indeed going to be an unprecedented occasion.

They will probably get along like a house on fire, or they will pretend to.

These two together are political nitro-glycerine." The meeting is officially focused on the broad theme of reducing inequality.

It's why Macron has invited leaders from the likes of Australia, Egypt, India and Rwanda to widen the debate on that topic.

Tough negotiations lie ahead elsewhere, though.

The Sino-U.S. trade war and a possible disorderly Brexit in October has markets worried over a global economic slump.

European powers are also struggling to defuse tensions between Washington and Iran.

Though leaders may struggle to find areas of agreement - the face-to-face nature of the summit can still be useful.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR ADVISOR FOR EUROPE AT THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES, FRANCOIS HEISBOURG, SAYING: "The G7, even when it doesn't deliver anything, even when it unfolds in the worst possible circumstances like in Canada last year, it's still extremely useful because it allows the heads of state and government to have a direct feel for what the actual position of their counterparts really is This year's summit in the seaside town of Biarritz runs from Saturday (August 24) to next Monday (August 26).

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