Merkel declines Trump's G-7 invitation, citing coronavirus travel concerns

Trump says he's postponing G7, wants to invite other countries

Trump Postpones G7 Until September, Plans to Invite Russia, South Korea, Australia, India

Mr Trump said on Saturday that he is postponing next month's G7 summit, and plans to invite Russia, Australia, South Korea and India when it does take place.

A White House statement said that after Air Force One touched down at Joint Base Andrews on Saturday night, the President came back to the press cabin to chat, off the record, for several minutes toward the end of the flight.

When a country prepares to host a G7 summit, there are all kinds of logistical and diplomatic challenges, but it's safe to say no host has struggled quite as much as Donald Trump in advance of this year's worldwide gathering.

Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications, said that Mr Trump wanted to bring in some of the country's traditional allies and those impacted by the coronavirus to discuss the future of China.

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Trump is also aggressively pushing for decoupling China from global supply chains which could hurt the world's second-largest economy in the long run. The US now holds the G-7 presidency of seven industrialised nations, whose other members are Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Canada and Italy. "Russia was removed following its annexation of Crimea and we are yet to see evidence of its behavior that would justify its readmission".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declined President Trump's invitation to attend an in-person meeting of the Group of Seven next month in Washington, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. "Making Europe strong again" - as its slogan for the country's upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, which kicks off on July 1.

Decisions on G7 membership are subject to the unanimous backing of all members.

India will attend a second successive G-7 meeting as a special invitee at the next gathering of the world's most economically powerful nations in the United States in September.

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The initial announcement drew skeptical responses from foreign capitals as governments waited for the United States to spell out what safety measures would be in place for the in-person summit. "Think a good time would be before the election..."

"Australia would welcome an official invitation", he said.

Trump announced in March he was canceling the summit because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead.

Reports suggest the call between Merkel and Trump on Thursday was stormy, ranging from German plans for the Nord Stream gas pipeline, to Hong Kong and the potential health risks of a face-to-face summit.

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The government on Saturday stressed its stance to further revitalize the country's businesses by a phased lifting of the lockdown. The nightly curfew will be maintained, but the hours will be changed from 9 pm to 5 am from the existing 7 pm to 7 am.

The 65-year-old chancellor is the oldest G7 leader after Mr Trump, who is 73.

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