August 26, 2019

Donald Trump offers olive branch to China as tensions ease on final day of G7
Donald Trump softened his tone on Monday on two of the most contentious issues at the strained G7 summit: his trade war with China and tensions with Iran. It was unclear if genuine progress had been made, but Mr Trump predicted a deal with China after it offered to return to the negotiating table, described by the US president as a breakthrough. “We’ll be getting back to the table,” he said.  He also appeared to back away from confrontation with Iran, leaving a window open for diplomacy. Boris Johnson met Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, on the sidelines of the summit to discuss a possible post-Brexit trade deal. After talks with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, Mr Johnson said he would like to visit Japan “as soon as we’ve got Brexit done, which will be on October 31”. Leaders of the world’s major industrialised nations, meeting in the upmarket French coastal resort of Biarritz, have agreed to spend more than £16 million to put out the fires engulfing huge swathes of the Amazon rainforest. Mr Johnson pledged £10 million on Sunday to help protect and restore the Amazon. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said he had a long discussion with Mr Trump on the fires and the US president backed the G7 initiatives, but Mr Trump was absent from a discussion on climate change with other leaders.  Mr Trump said he had agreed to the Iranian foreign minister’s surprise appearance on Sunday for talks with his French counterpart and Mr Macron, who is trying to broker a deal between Washington and Tehran. European diplomats have struggled to calm a deepening confrontation between Tehran and Washington Credit: AP Several other leaders were reportedly stunned at the arrival of Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, but Mr Trump said: "I knew [Mr Zarif] was coming in and I respected the fact that he was coming in. We're looking to make Iran rich again, let them be rich, let them do well, if they want.” Mr Trump said the G7 leaders shared the common goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. There is “great unity”, he said. “We’ve come to a conclusion, more or less.” “I knew everything he [Macron] was doing and I approved everything he was doing.” he said. “I said if you want to do that, that's OK. I don't consider that disrespectful at all. Especially when he asked me for approval.” Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was less upbeat about the prospects of a diplomatic solution to the stand-off between Washington and Tehran. “We all have a big interest in a peaceful solution to the Iran situation, but it won’t be easy,” she said. The US administration imposed sanctions on Mr Zarif at the end of last month, part of Mr Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” via crippling sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme. Mr Trump pulled out of a 2015 international agreement placing limits on Tehran’s nuclear activities in return for trade and investment. Mr Macron decided to ditch the traditional joint communiqué at the end of the summit because of the gulf between the different leaders over issues ranging from China and Iran to the possible re-admission of Russia to the group,  advocated by Mr Trump but opposed by most of the other leaders including Mr Johnson and Mr Macron.  French officials had feared that Mr Trump, who has objected to the focus on the Amazon and climate change, could walk out or negate any progress with a caustic tweet after the close of the meeting. On Sunday, however, Mr Trump proclaimed that the meeting was going “beautifully”. Mr Macron and Mr Macron are to hold a joint press conference before the summit closes. It will be followed by Mr Johnson’s first formal press conference as prime minister.
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