G7 to tackle Amazon fires, Brexit, rising trade tensions

Amazon fires

Biarritz (France), Aug 24 (IANS) As leaders arrived to the quaint seaside town of Biarritz for the annual G7 summit, high on the agenda was the need to rally the international community to tackle wildfires in the Amazon, resolutions to the ensuing Brexit deadlock and de-escalation of trade tensions.

The G7, which includes France, Germany, the UK, Italy, the US, Canada and Japan will launch its annual meeting on Sunday as leaders gathered in the southeastern French town in time for a dinner hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters he was willing to listen to any suggestions UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had in a bid to unlock Brexit negotiations ahead of Britain’s departure from the bloc on October 31.

“The one thing I will not cooperate on is no deal. I still hope Prime Minister Johnson will not want to go down in history as ‘Mr. No Deal'”.

Johnson will be attending his first G7 summit and is expected to meet Tusk and US President Donald Trump.

Tusk also took the opportunity to rule out the option of re-including Russia in the group.

“Under no condition can we agree with Donald Trump’s logic that Russia should be allowed back into G7 because Crimea’s annexation was ‘partially justified’ and should be accepted.”

The former Polish Prime Minister added that he would be hoping to convince the group to invite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to future meetings as a guest.

In a televised address aired hours before the official launch of the summit, Macron insisted that the Amazon wildfires were high on the agenda days after claiming that “Our house is burning”.

“Climate and biodiversity are at the heart of this G7. The ocean and the forest that burns in the Amazon call us. We have to answer to them in a concrete way. On these subjects, the time is no longer for words, but for deeds,” said the French President.

Macron also warned of global trade tensions saying he hoped the summit would serve as a platform to encourage de-escalation of animosity and added that he would be attempting “to convince all our partners that trade tensions are bad for everyone”.

“We must succeed in reaching a de-escalation, stabilize things and avoid this trade war which is already taking place everywhere,” he added.

This comes on the back of fresh retaliatory measures imposed by the US on Friday to hike up tariffs on Chinese imports.

Trump also threatened to impose tariffs on French wines in response to the recently approved “Gafa” tax which targets the activities of tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

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