Italy's Conte wants G8 with Russia, not quick end to sanctions

Clay Curtis
June 11, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she finds President Donald Trump's tweet disavowing a common statement after the Group of Seven summit in Canada "sobering" and "a little depressing".

On Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sniped about "stragglers" after Trump was late to a breakfast session on gender equality. "Kim must not see American weakness".

Kudlow said the United States had spent the summit negotiating in "good faith" with Trudeau and the other assembled leaders, and that the USA had planned to sign the communique until Trudeau's news conference, which Kudlow called a "sophomoric play".

Trump quickly responded on Twitter that he was surprised by Trudeau's comments because he found the prime minister "so meek and mild" at the summit.

"The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn't said before - both in public, and in private conversation with the President."
"But President Trump has every right to push back publicly on this Trudeau amateur scheme". "He's a pathetic little man-child".

The Group of Seven leaders came to their summit in Canada braced for battle, and while everyone had smiles ready for the cameras, behind the scenes U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a "rant" and recriminations on trade to U.S. allies, leaving the once united club deeply divided. "I have made it clear to the president that [imposing retaliatory tariffs] is not something we relish doing, but it's something that we absolutely will do", Trudeau said.

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating Russia's involvement in the 2016 US presidential election, including links to Trump's campaign.

"We win that war a thousand times out of a thousand", Trump said.

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"He did him a favor", Navarro said. That was a part of Trudeau's mistake. "That will not stand".

This year, the summit will be Friday and Saturday in Quebec, Canada. In his tweetstorm - and again on Saturday - the President said that such actions were hurting USA farmers and "killing our agriculture".

"Don't blame Trump. It was Trudeau who started blasting Trump after he left, after the deals had been made".

Trudeau said he told Trump directly that Canada 'particularly did not take lightly the fact that [the tariffs were] based on a national security reason'. He was supported by the Prime Minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte. "I don't understand the obsession with trade relations with Canada", he said, given that Canada is the biggest single buyer of American goods and services in the world.

"We are comfortably placed in NATO: Italy's worldwide position is absolutely not in question but we are certainly in favour of dialogue and we are very attentive that sanctions should not impact on Russian civil society". "We managed to convince Trump that six plus one was feasible and he did not want that".

In response, Trudeau's office said the prime minister had "said nothing he hasn't said before - both in public, and in private conversations with the president" while an European Union official told dpa the bloc would "stick to the communique as agreed by all participants". The rules of the World Trade Organization do allow Canada's punishing tariffs on dairy and the EU's on autos.

The US had imposed hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from key allies the Europe Union, Canada and Mexico last week.

The six-plus-one tone of the gathering in Quebec means the leaders from Canada, Britain, the US, France, Germany Italy and Japan are unlikely to issue a joint statement as they remain sharply divided on trade and the environment to reach consensus.

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