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G-7 leaders cautious as Trump suggests face-to-face summit

G-7 leaders cautious as Trump suggests face-to-face summit”

Arranging a summit in a month's time would be a challenge, officials said.

It is unclear how G7 leaders would respond to the president's overture.

"Whatever form the G-7 meeting takes, whether it's a video conference or otherwise, I will definitely fight for multi-lateralism, that's very clear, both in the G-7 and the G-20", said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Camp David is an hour's drive north of Washington in Thurmont, Maryland.

The jury is still out in Italy.

President Donald Trump pumps his fist while boarding Air Force One as he departs Thursday, May 21, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

He did not specify when, but said it would either be on the originally scheduled dates in mid-June or a "similar date".

Holding the summit would underscore Trump's message that America can now reopen on the assumption that the worst of the coronavirus crisis has passed, even as many public health experts warn that a rush to do that could lead to a new wave of infections.

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The U.S. has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world at over 1.5 million, while the United Kingdom ranks #4 with more than 250,000, according to Johns Hopkins data. The president added there will be an announcement about the meeting early next week.

Member countries - which remain under varying levels of lockdown and whose leaders have not left home since the pandemic began - were not notified that Trump had resurrected plans for a face-to-face summit until after he said Wednesday on Twitter that he was considering it. Restrictions are now in place for travellers from Europe, home to four of the G7 nations, and earlier this week the USA and Canada agreed to keep their shared border closed to non-essential travel until June 21.

"It would be a great sign to all - normalization!", the United States president wrote, calling for his counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to fly in for the event.

In his reaction, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at his daily briefing, stated that he was open to discussing an in-person meeting.

He said his understanding is that details such as the dates and format of the meeting are still being studied by the U.S.as host nation.

"We're going to need to keep talking about not just how we get through this COVID-19 pandemic, but how we restore the global economy to its rightful activities", Trudeau said.

Following his comments Wednesday, most leaders who spoke publicly about the matter were largely noncommittal. The United States also now maintains bans on flights to the country from Europe and Britain.



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