With an explosive surprise coup at the G7 summit, french president emmanuel macron wants to bring new movement into the dangerous iran conflict.
Iran’s auben minister mohammed javad sarif arrived unexpectedly on sunday for the rich industrial countries (g7) meeting in biarritz, france, and met with macron. Visit throws three-day meeting of heads of state and government into turmoil. It was previously overshadowed by differences with U.S. President donald trump, even if everyone tried to present a unanimous image.
The invitation of sarif is delicate because the USA considers iran an enemy and does not maintain diplomatic relations. The u.S. President accuses tehran of aggressively interfering in regional conflicts, for example in syria or yemen. After pulling out of the nuclear agreement with iran, trump is now back to a policy of "maximum pressure" against tehran.
The iran crisis is one of the main issues, along with the U.S. Trade war with china and its consequences for the global economy, the handling of russia, brexit, africa and the equality of women. Chancellor angela merkel saw the visit of the iranian minister as a contribution to the resolution of the conflict with iran. Every attempt at de-escalation is valuable.
Macron had already met with sarif in paris on friday and briefed the heads of state and government on his language at dinner the previous day. As merkel explained, the round table had not developed a roadmap. "We have gone through options."The question is what is in the interest of iran, which is suffering under the sanctions, and what can be done for a return to the nuclear agreement.
The G7 round is agreed that iran must not be given nuclear weapons. Everyone wanted a negotiated settlement and a defusing of the conflict, said merkel. That is why the conversation with sarif was sought again, which she finds "good and right. She did not meet iran’s eagle minister, who fell in love with biarritz in the evening.
In the struggle to resolve the brexit dispute, the first attendance of the new british prime minister boris johnson at a G7 summit brought no progress. According to EU sources, johnson arrived at a meeting with EU council president donald tusk without any new proposals, but the atmosphere was "very positive. U.S. President backed johnson to leave the eu. "He’s the right man for the job," trump said, promising him a quick trade deal with the u.S.
There was also disagreement over russia’s readmission to the G7 club, which the U.S. President supported as "beneficial. The country, ruled by president vladimir putin, was excluded after the crimea annexation in 2014. Trump’s request was rebuffed, however, as merkel and macron in particular are opposed to a resumption as long as putin does not show any accommodation in ukraine. However, merkel and macron want to make a new attempt to resolve the ukraine crisis with russia in the near future, as the chancellor explained.
The G7 countries were largely united, at least in the face of the flaming inferno in the amazon region. Industrialized countries want to coordinate further to help affected countries quickly, macron said. The aim is to provide "technical and financial resources" and help with reforestation. "A long engagement follows," the chancellor also said. "The lungs of our entire planet are affected, and that is why we need to find common solutions here."
In the brazilian amazon region, the worst forest fires in years are currently raging, but other countries such as bolivia, paraguay and french guiana are also affected. The host of the summit had spontaneously put the forest fire on the agenda because of the importance of the amazon region for climate change.
However, brazil’s right-wing populist president, jair bolsonaro, had resisted interference. Environmentalists accuse him of creating a political climate in which slash-and-burn is tolerated. The europeans increased the pressure on him by questioning the european union’s free trade agreement with the south american mercosur states, which had been agreed in principle.
There were also differences with trump over his trade war with china, which is slowing down the already weak global economy. Trump showed no willingness to compromise as G7 partners reiterated opposition to punitive tariffs as tool. Trump downplayed the counters: "i think they respect the trade war."
Trump demonstratively announced an agreement in principle with japan’s prime minister shinzo abe on a bilateral trade agreement. The largest economy, the u.S., and japan, the third largest, want to further open their markets to each other’s goods.
A new initiative was launched for africa. The G7 countries want to take stronger action against islamist terrorism in west africa than before. "Development without security is not possible, and therefore we must strengthen security," said merkel, who with macron announced new aid for states in the region. It is about logistics, equipment and training, not about sending troops. The situation in the core sahel states is visibly deteriorating.
Aid organizations reacted critically. "Security policies are not a panacea for structural problems, we need comprehensive development policies with a central focus on fighting social inequality," said jorn kalinski of oxfam. "No security without development," said friederike roder of ONE. 40 percent of the population live in poverty.
After the EU had already pledged a further 550 million euros in biarritz for the global fund to fight aids, malaria and tuberculosis, merkel announced that one billion euros would be made available over the next three years. "Aids is still the number one cause of death worldwide among women under 50," marwin meier of world vision buried the pledge. "It is a mistake to think we had already defeated these gross poverty diseases."
Apart from germany, france, the united states and great britain, italy, canada and japan are also part of the group whose summit is also attended by the european union.