France, Germany slam Trump over G7 statement U-turn

France and Germany have reacted strongly at a decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw his support for the concluding joint statement issued by the Group of Seven summit in Canada of leading world economic powers, with a French presidential source calling it an act of 'incoherence and inconsistency' and the German foreign minister saying trust had been 'lost'. 

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Germany and France on Sunday sharply criticized US President Donald Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw his support for a Group of Seven communiqué, accusing him of destroying trust and acting inconsistently, reports Reuters.

Trump’s announcement on Twitter, after he left the G7 summit in Canada early, that he was backing out of the joint communiqué torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.

Trump also took aim at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and said he might double down on import tariffs by hitting the sensitive automobile industry, throwing G7 efforts to show a united front into disarray.

G7 members Germany and France said they stood by the communiqué despite Trump’s decision.

“In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters,” German foreign minister Heiko Maas said when asked about Trump’s U-turn, adding it would take much longer to rebuild lost trust.

Trump’s conduct was “actually not a real surprise, we have seen this with the climate agreement or the Iran deal”, Maas, a senior member of the Social Democrats (SPD), a partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, told reporters.

Trump withdrew the United States from the global deal reached in Paris in December 2015 to curb global warming, and last month from world powers’ July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, asserting that it was one-sided in Tehran’s favor.

SPD leader Andrea Nahles accused Trump of turning the G7 summit into a disaster with his tweets and bowing out of his international responsibilities. “President Trump is creating chaos. Reasonable and reliable policy is not possible that way.”

France and Europe are standing by the G7 communiqué, a French presidency official said, adding anyone departing from the commitments made at the summit would be showing their “incoherence and inconsistency”.

“International cooperation cannot depend on being angry and on sound bites. Let’s be serious,” the French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Trump has infuriated the European Union, Canada and Mexico by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, accusing all of having shortchanged the United States in trade deals. They strongly deny this.

Trump and European allies are also at odds over Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the deal in which Iran curbed its disputed nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, and the Paris climate change accord.

Read more of this report from Reuters.

 

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