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G20 Summit 2017: Joint statement exposes climate policy divide with US

Merkel said she was pleased all club members besides the US had agreed to follow the Paris accord

Paul Carrel & Noah Barkin | Reuters  |  Hamburg 

G20 communique exposes climate policy divide with US
US President Donald Trump along with other world leaders at a panel discussion on the second day of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

The final statement from Group of 20 leaders on Saturday exposed a divide between the United States and other members on the aimed at combating  

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosting the two-day summit, said she was pleased all club members besides the United States had agreed the was irreversible. 

“I think it’s very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated,” told reporters at the end of the two-day meeting. 

She said she did not share the view of British Prime Minister Theresa May who said on Friday she thought Washington could decide to return to the climate agreement.

In the final communique, the leaders took note of the United States’ decision to withdraw from the landmark accord. “The leaders of the other members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible,” the statement read.

On trade, another sticking point, the leaders agreed they would “fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices and recognise the role of legitimate trade defence instruments in this regard.” 

Trump, who on Friday found chemistry in his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, congratulated on her stewardship of the summit. “You have been amazing and you have done a fantastic job. Thank you very much chancellor,” he said.

Future ties

and on Friday discussed alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election but agreed to focus on future ties rather than dwell on the past, a result that was sharply criticised by leading Democrats in Congress.

For Merkel, the summit was an opportunity to show off her diplomatic skills ahead of a federal election in September, when she is seeking a fourth term in office.

She treated the leaders to a concert at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on Friday night, where they listened to Beethoven while their aides began an all night slog to thrash out the consensus on trade that had eluded the leaders.

Trade policy has become more contentious since entered the White House promising an “America First” approach. chose to host the summit in Hamburg, the port city where she was born, to send a signal about Germany’s openness to the world, including its tolerance of peaceful protests. 

As the leaders met on Saturday, police helicopters hovered overhead. Overnight, police clashed with anti-capitalist protesters seeking to disrupt the summit.

In the early morning, heavily armed police commandos moved in after activists had spent much of Friday attempting to wrest control of the streets from more than 15,000 police, setting fires, looting and building barricades.

The summit is being held only a few hundred meters from one of Germany’s most potent symbols of left-wing resistance, a former theater called the “Rote Flora” which was taken over by anti-capitalist squatters nearly three decades ago.

Police said 200 officers had been injured, 134 protesters temporarily detained and another 100 taken into custody.

First Published: Sun, July 09 2017. 00:01 IST