Published: Mon, May 29, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

Donald Trump faces new controversies as foreign trip winds down


The summit of G7 wealthy nations pitted Trump against the leaders of Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan on several issues, with European diplomats frustrated at having to revisit questions they had hoped were long settled.

Trump's promise of warmer ties with Moscow had called into question the US commitment to sanctions.

Trump's refusal to sign onto the pact came after three days of intense lobbying by other leaders, including Pope Francis.

Trump's brief separation from the foreign leaders ahead of the photo op comes shortly after he refused to take part in a pledge supporting the Paris climate deal. Cameron enthused that trade deals the European Union was negotiating with the U.S., Canada and Japan - and the U.S. with other Pacific Rim nations - would together add half a trillion dollars to the global economy.

European leaders made little attempt to hide their frustration, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel describing discussions on climate change at the gathering in Sicily as "very unsatisfying".

Although it was remarkable to see a G7 joint statement making clear there was no joint agreement, some allies expressed relief that Trump had not outright rejected the accord and said they remained hopeful he would come around.

Cohn was referring to whether Trump will execute his threat to walk away from the Paris accord on combatting climate change.

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In addition to stymying action on fossil fuels, Trump also reportedly "forced the Italian prime minister Paulo Gentiloni-the summit host-to shred plans for an ambitious statement stressing the plight of migrants was a global rather than regional responsibility", the Guardian reported.

Yet the six other leaders in the communique reaffirmed their "strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement".

"I think his views are evolving", Donald Trump's National Economic Counsellor Gary Cohn told reporters.

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno). U.S. President Donald Trump, left, French President Emmanuel Macron and EU Council President Donald Tusk, right, watch the Frecce Tricolori Italian Air Force acrobatic squadron performing, in Taormina, Italy, Friday, May 26, 2017.

But this was before the election of Donald Trump and his campaign slogan of "America First".

Trump has delayed his final decision on the Paris Accord as he wants more time to decide whether the United States should pull out of the 195-nation agreement. The U.S. had no sherpa at the summit.

"We commit to adopting appropriate policies so that all firms and citizens can make the most of opportunities offered by the global economy", it says.

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The United States is the world's biggest carbon emitter after China.

The president received a resounding welcome from his audience, but when he returns to Washington, he will return to criticism amid several new developments in the ongoing Russian Federation story.

The US leader, concluding his first overseas trip in office, was due to fly home later Saturday without giving the customary close-of-summit press conference.

Trump "is isolating the USA from its most important allies and those allies stood strong in the face of backsliding", Heather Coleman, climate director at Oxfam America, said in a statement referring to the Paris Agreement policy of not weakening climate-related commitments over time.

"I was here in Sicily to attend very important summit meetings - the meeting of the G7".

The US has been hesitant to give its backing to the Paris agreement amid shifting policies in Trump's administration, Efe news reported.

Trump's pending review of USA climate policies has left environmentalists bracing for the possibility of bland G-7 promises that say little after years of increasingly stronger commitments to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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Leaders from the G-7 countries were expected to gather at the San Domenico Palace Hotel on Saturday morning.

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