Tag Archives: Biarritz

Brazil rejects G7 aid for Amazon fires

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro late Monday rejected a US$22 million aid package offered by G7 countries to help battle fierce forest fires in the Amazon rainforest, which is often regarded as the planet’s “lungs”, reported Anadolu Agency.

Speaking on social media, Bolsonaro argued there was a hidden agenda behind French President Emmanuel Macron’s aid offer, saying Brazil is not a colonial territory.

Bolsonaro went on to say that he discussed a plan with Colombian President Ivan Duque that guarantees neighbouring countries’ national sovereignty and natural resources in the Amazon region.

Bolsonaro’s rejection was based on the idea that the allocation of millions of dollars would harm the country’s sovereignty.

In a joint news conference Monday with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Macron announced that G7 countries would allocate US$22 million in emergency funding to help with efforts to prevent fires in the Amazon rainforest. He also said France would provide military support in the region to fight the fires.

Tensions between France and Brazil rose after Macron called for an emergency meeting of G7 countries regarding the fires. Bolsonaro accused Macron of having a colonial mindset.

Notably, one of Bolsonaro’s followers mocked Macron’s wife on social media Sunday for her physical appearance and the Brazilian leader replied, saying: “Do not humiliate the guy, ha ha.”

Macron reacted to Bolsonaro’s comment, saying he was “extraordinarily rude”.

http://www.bernama.com/en/world/news.php?id=1761293

Leaders at G7 pledge to help Brazil battle Amazon fires

Leaders of the Group of Seven nations have said they are preparing to help Brazil battle fires burning across the Amazon region and repair the damage as tens of thousands of soldiers get ready to join the fight against blazes that have caused global alarm.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the summit leaders were nearing an agreement on how to support Brazil and said the agreement would involve both technical and financial mechanisms “so that we can help them in the most effective way possible”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country and others will talk with Brazil about reforestation in the Amazon once fires there have been extinguished.

“Of course [this is] Brazilian territory, but we have a question here of the rainforests that is really a global question,” she said. “The lung of our whole Earth is affected, and so we must find common solutions.”

Pope Francis also added his voice to the chorus of concern over the fires in Brazil, which borders his homeland of Argentina, and urged people to pray so that “they are controlled as quickly as possible”.

He told a crowd in St Peter’s Square that “we’re all worried” about the Amazon fires. He warned that the “lung of forest is vital for our planet”.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted that he had talked by phone to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel would send a plane to help in the firefighting operation.

On Friday, Mr Bolsonaro announced 44,000 soldiers would be sent to help battle the fires that are scattered across Brazil’s share of the vast Amazon, an overall region 10 times the size of Texas that is seen as a global bulwark against climate change.

Only a few hundred troops had been sent so far.

The country’s satellite monitoring agency has recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year – with more than half of those coming this month alone.

Experts say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland.

But the same monitoring agency has reported a sharp increase in deforestation this year as well.

Brazil’s federal police agency announced on Sunday it would investigate reports that farmers in the state of Para, one of those most affected by the blazes, had called for “a day of fire” to ignite blazes on August 10.

Local news media said the group organised over WhatsApp to show support for Mr Bolsonaro’s efforts to loosen environmental regulations.

Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who oversees the police, said on Twitter that Mr Bolsonaro “asked for a rigorous investigation” and said “the criminal fires will be severely punished”.

People demonstrated in Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities on Sunday demanding Mr Bolsonaro’s administration do more to protect the Amazon.

One boy in Rio held up a poster saying “Bol$onaro is burning our future,” while people chanted: “Bolsonaro out! Amazon stays!”

Ms Merkel noted that Mr Bolsonaro is putting “significant forces” into the effort to save the rainforest.

But the Brazilian president has had a tense relationship with foreign governments – including Germany’s – and non-governmental groups that he accuses of meddling in his country’s management of the Amazon.

He last week floated the idea, without evidence, that non-governmental groups were setting fires to embarrass him.

Mr Macron’s office on Friday complained that the Brazilian leader “had lied to him” about environmental commitments.

Asked if he would speak with Mr Macron, Mr Bolsonaro said: “If he calls me, I will answer. I am being extremely well-mannered with him even though he called me ‘a liar’.”

Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales said he would welcome aid in fighting his own country’s wildfires.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/latin-america/leaders-at-g7-pledge-to-help-brazil-battle-amazon-fires-38439842.html

As G7 Summit Winds Down, Macron Seeks Agreement On Amazon Fires

The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations were expected to conclude their summit on August 26 with a discussion of problems including the fires currently ravaging the Amazon rainforest.

French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested that the leaders meeting in the southwestern French coastal resort of Biarritz were finalizing a possible deal to provide “technical and financial help.”

G7 countries comprise the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, and Canada.

A record number of fires are ravaging the rainforest, many of them in Brazil, prompting international concern because of the Amazon’s importance to the global environment.

Critics have accused Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of “green-lighting” the Amazon’s destruction through his rhetoric and a lack of action on deforestation violations.

The three-day summit in Biarritz saw a dramatic shift of focus on August 25, when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a brief and unannounced visit to discuss the diplomatic deadlock on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Zarif tweeted that he held “constructive” talks with his French counterpart and Macron.

“Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying,” he wrote, adding that he gave a joint briefing to German and British officials.

The French presidency described the talks as “positive” and said the discussions would continue.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have ratcheted up since Washington last year withdrew from the 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

Five other signatories, including France, Britain, and Germany, remain committed to the accord, but Iran has begun reducing some of its commitments under the agreement.

https://www.rferl.org/a/macron-says-g7-near-agreement-on-amazon-fires/30129043.html

G7 leaders vow to help Brazil fight Amazon fires, repair damage

Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they are preparing to help Brazil battle fires burning across the Amazon region and repair the damage as tens of thousands of soldiers got ready to join the fight against blazes that have caused global alarm.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the summit leaders were nearing an agreement on how to support Brazil and said the agreement would involve both technical and financial mechanisms “so that we can help them in the most effective way possible.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country and others will talk with Brazil about reforestation in the Amazon once fires there have been extinguished.

“Of course (this is) Brazilian territory, but we have a question here of the rainforests that is really a global question,” she said. “The lung of our whole Earth is affected, and so we must find common solutions.”

Pope Francis also added his voice to the chorus of concern over the fires in Brazil, which borders his homeland of Argentina, and urged people to pray so that “they are controlled as quickly as possible.” He told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square that “we’re all worried” about the Amazon fires. He warned that that green “lung of forest is vital for our planet.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted that he had talked by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel would send a specialized plane to help in the firefighting operation.

On Friday, the president announced 44,000 soldiers would be sent to help battle the fires that are scattered across Brazil’s’s share of the vast Amazon, an overall region 10 times the size of Texas that is seen as a global bulwark against climate change. Only a few hundred troops had been sent so far.

The country’s satellite monitoring agency has recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year — with more than half of those coming this month alone. Experts say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland. But the same monitoring agency has reported a sharp increase in deforestation this year as well.

Brazil’s federal police agency announced Sunday it would investigate reports that farmers in the state of Para, one of those most affected by the blazes, had called for “a day of fire” to ignite fires Aug. 10.

Local news media said the group organized over WhatsApp to show support for Bolsonaro’s efforts to loosen environmental regulations.

Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who oversees the police, said on Twitter that Bolsonaro “asked for a rigorous investigation” and said “the criminal fires will be severely punished.”

People demonstrated in Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities Sunday demanding Bolsonaro’s administration do more to protect the Amazon. One boy in Rio held up a poster saying “Bol$onaro is burning our future,” while people chanted: “Bolsonaro out! Amazon stays!”

Critics have accused Bolsonaro’s pro-development policies of encouraging farmers and ranchers to increase efforts to strip away the forest, though the president has issued repeated pledges recently to protect the area, and backed that up by sending in soldiers and other federal forces.

Merkel noted that Bolsonaro is putting “significant forces” into the effort to save the rainforest.

But Bolsonaro has had a tense relationship with foreign governments — including Germany’s — and non-governmental groups that he accuses of meddling in his country’s management of the Amazon. He last week floated the idea, without evidence, that non-governmental groups were setting fires to embarrass him.

Macron’s office on Friday complained that the Brazilian leader “had lied to him” about environmental commitments.

Asked if he would speak with Macron, Bolsonaro said Saturday, “If he calls me, I will answer. I am being extremely well-mannered with him even though he called me ‘a liar.’“

Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday he would welcome aid in fighting his own country’s wildfires, which have scorched about 3,475 square miles (900,000 hectares). Most of the damage has been in the forests of the Chiquitanía region over the past two weeks, but fires also have burned in Bolivia’s Amazon region. Morales said at a news conference that he had accepted offers of assistance from the leaders of Spain, Chile and Paraguay.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/g7-leaders-vow-to-help-brazil-fight-amazon-fires-repair-damage/story-0jmnSN6ytfHVbc989pMQiI.html

Iranian FM surprisingly arrives in France hosting G7 summit

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived on Sunday in southern French city Biarritz, where the G7 summit is convening, a spokesperson of the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi tweeted that there will be no meetings or negotiations with the American delegation during this trip.

The visit is made at the invitation of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in a bid to continue discussions on recent initiatives between the presidents of Iran and France, said Mousavi.

Flight tracking site flightradar24.com showed earlier that an Iranian jet landed at Biarritz airport.

Iranian nuclear issue is one of the main topics at the summit of the seven leading industrialized countries. Together with Britain and Germany, the host country France is willing to take advantage of the event to rescue the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iranian nuclear deal, from which the United States has withdrawn, raising the tension of the Gulf region.

Earlier on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron told French television LCI that we agreed on what we wanted to say jointly on Iran”. “Everyone wants to avoid a conflict, and U.S. President Donald Trump was extremely clear on that point.”

However, Trump said in a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he had not discussed this with Macron.

http://www.china.org.cn/world/2019-08/26/content_75137445.htm

Macron papers over differences among G7

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron appeared determined to downplay disagreements in the G7 as the western powers met for a summit despite tensions over trade, climate, Russia and Iran.

Even a surprise visit on Sunday by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif for a lightning-quick meeting with Macron, at the invitation of the French government, did not seem to derail the script.

After the Iran meeting, Trump and summit host Macron held what seemed to be a friendly chat before they went with other leaders to a private dinner.

Trump repeatedly praised Macron throughout the first two days of the summit and appeared to accept that he may not get his own way on every issue, at least for now.

US officials were privately criticising the organisation of the summit though Trump himself stuck to flattery and diplomacy.”

Thus far, this has been really a great G7. And I want to congratulate France,” Trump said, even as leaks from the White House swirled that he was unhappy.

Trump denounced “the Fake and Disgusting News” media on his Twitter feed.

The US president came into the summit with guns blazing regarding his trade war with China, having announced fresh tariffs on Beijing and ordering US companies to plan to exit the Asian giant, in a sign that an agreement was still far off.

Asked by reporters whether he’d had second thoughts about the trade war amid mounting concerns over an economic downturn, Trump replied that he had.

However, the White House later clarified that the president meant to say his only doubts were about how high tariffs on China should go.

“President Trump responded in the affirmative – because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher,” Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, in a show of boldness towards Beijing.

Analysts had cautioned that if Trump was intent on a trade war with China, he would need the US’ historic allies on board with his program.

However, his feuds with Europe, including a recent spat with NATO ally Denmark over buying Greenland, appear to indicate he would not be able to create the needed international balance against his Asian rival.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, keen to reach a trade agreement with the US after Brexit, said in a meeting with Trump that London was more interested in a “trade peace” and reducing tariffs.

Other officials have warned the trade war could lead to a recession and destroy trust among the Western nations.

Trump conceded there were disagreements about bringing Russia back into the G7 and appeared to accept that for now, though he views Moscow’s participation positively, he cannot force his opinion on other leaders.

Similarly, the French and the US seemed to sidestep disagreements about Iran. Trump said he would accept France trying to conduct outreach to Tehran even if he would not actively sanction the talks, as Macron had wanted.

The G7 summit formally started its working sessions on Sunday, as the leaders of the world’s leading democratic economies focus on jobs, inequality, climate change and women’s empowerment.

It’s already clear that the US is at odds with Macron and others over climate change, and it remains to be seen how the countries will try to paper over differences.

Macron will be keen to avoid any of the public disputes that have overshadowed past gatherings of the Western leaders

Macron said all seven nations agreed on the urgent need to fight fires in the Amazon rainforest, adding that they were in touch with the countries of the region to finalise “very concrete technical and financial commitments”.

Trump is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, the last day of the summit. Leaders will also discuss climate change and the digital economy.

It’s already clear that the US is at odds with Macron and others over climate change, and it remains to be seen how the countries will try to paper over differences.

Macron will be keen to avoid any of the public disputes that have overshadowed past gatherings of the Western leaders.

Macron said all seven nations agreed on the urgent need to fight fires in the Amazon rainforest, adding that they were in touch with the countries of the region to finalise “very concrete technical and financial commitments”.

Trump is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, the last day of the summit. Leaders will also discuss climate change and the digital economy.

https://www.9news.com.au/world/macron-papers-over-differences-among-g7/468aceb6-61ca-4297-8cae-0d8cfe014eec

Trump promises big trade deal for Britain after it leaves EU

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday said he and President Donald Trump were “gung-ho” about a post-Brexit trade deal but cautioned the United States would be tough negotiators and that he would not rush talks.

Trump promised a big trade deal for Britain after it leaves the European Union, which he said had been a drag on Britain’s ability to cut a good deal.

Facing a delicate task of assuaging European allies while not angering Trump at a G7 summit in France, Johnson said there were huge opportunities for British businesses in the US market, but hinted at differences between the two sides on the scope of a deal.

Moreover, he added, Washington would have to relax some “protectionist” policies. 

“They want to do it within a year, I’d love to do it within a year, but that’s a very fast timetable,” he told Sky News.

Earlier, before the two leaders began a trade-focused bilateral meeting, Trump said he was looking forward to discussing big numbers with Johnson.

“We’re going to do a very big trade deal – bigger than we’ve ever had with the UK,” Trump said. “At some point, they won’t have the obstacle of – they won’t have the anchor around their ankle, because that’s what they had.” With less than three months until an Oct. 31 deadline, it is still unclear, how, when or even whether Britain will leave the EU. The uncertainty around Brexit, the United Kingdom’s most significant political and economic post-war move, has left allies and investors aghast and roiled markets.

Britain has yet to agree any kind of exit deal to smooth the divorce between the world’s fifth largest economy and its biggest trading partner, raising fears of shortages and widespread disruption.

However, Johnson said meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron last week had helped his case for a better exit deal. There was a “dawning realisation” in Brussels that Britain’s objections to the existing deal were implacable.

“I think it’s going to be touch and go but the important thing is to get ready to come out without a deal,” he told the BBC.

Opponents fear Brexit will make Britain poorer and divide the West as it grapples with both Trump’s unconventional presidency and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.

Supporters acknowledge the divorce might bring short-term instability, but say in the longer term it will allow the United Kingdom to thrive if cut free from what they cast as a doomed attempt to forge European unity.

Johnson also met European Council head Donald Tusk, who on Saturday said Johnson would go down as “Mr No-Deal” if he took Britain out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

A British official said Johnson told Tusk that Britain would be leaving the EU on Oct. 31 whatever the circumstances. Sky News reported that Johnson would tell Tusk Britain would only pay 9 billion pounds ($11 billion) instead of the 39 billion pound liability agreed by former prime minister Theresa May under a no-deal Brexit.

Asked about the report, Johnson said: “If we come out without an agreement it is certainly true that the 39 billion is no longer, strictly speaking, owed.” Trump and Johnson were in the French seaside resort of Biarritz for a summit of G7 industrialised nations where sharp differences have emerged over trade protectionism and an array of issues including Iran and North Korea.

On his arrival on Saturday, Johnson said of the escalating U.S.-China trade war that he was “very worried” about the growth of protectionism. Those who “supported tariffs risked incurring the blame for the downturn in the global economy”, he said.

Sitting opposite Trump on Sunday, Johnson praised the performance of the US economy before adding: “But just to register a faint, sheep-like note of our view on the trade war – we are in favour of trade peace on the whole.” London’s preference is for a comprehensive free trade deal with the United States post Brexit, UK government officials say, while some US officials including Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton have talked of a sector-by-sector approach.

As Johnson said London and Washington would do a “fantastic deal”, Trump interrupted to say: “lots of fantastic mini-deals, we’re talking about many different deals but we’re having a good time.”

https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2019/08/25/trump-promises-big-trade-deal-for-britain-after-it-leaves-eu

Iran’s Javad Zarif makes dramatic entrance at G7 summit

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif turned up unannounced at a meeting of world leaders on Sunday in a dramatic intervention aimed at easing Tehran’s nuclear crisis but threatened to antagonise Donald Trump who was kept in the dark about the mission.

Mr Zarif arrived at the invitation of G7 summit host France which has taken the lead in trying to reduce tensions between Tehran and the US, which has ramped up sanctions against the regime and tried to seize one of its oil tankers.

The foreign minister’s arrival took the US delegation by surprise and appears not to have been discussed during an unscheduled two-hour meeting between presidents Emmanuel Macron, of France, and Donald Trump on Saturday.

A White House official said that Mr Trump was not forewarned by France. Asked about the arrival of Mr Zarif, who is on a US sanctions list, the normally loquacious Mr Trump said: “No comment.”

French and Iranian officials played down the prospects of a face-to-face meeting with Mr Trump, who last year pulled the US out of the nuclear deal and tightened sanctions against the clerical regime.

Iranian UN mission spokesman Alireza Miryousefi posted on Twitter: “No meeting with Americans in Biarritz.”

Mr Zarif’s first appointment was with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, at the summit in the French coastal resort of Biarritz.Mr Trump’s policy of exerting maximum pressure on Iran has alienated European leaders.

They have sought to continue trading with Tehran but banks and businesses have proved wary because of fears that they will be locked out of the US financial system if they struck deals.

The meeting followed confusion at the summit – riven with disputes over trade, climate change and the question about whether Russia should be admitted to the G7 – after leaders of the world’s leading democracies gave mixed messages about their plans for dealing with Iran.

A French official claimed that the G7 had agreed on Saturday night to allow President Emmanuel Macron to talk to Tehran and pass on messages to try to tackle the growing crisis in the Gulf.

But the US president — who has taken the hardest diplomatic line against Iran — immediately distanced himself from any suggestion that the leaders of the US, Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, France and the EU has reached agreement on a joint message.

“No, I haven’t discussed that,” Mr Trump told reporters on Sunday, shortly after Mr Macron claimed that a message had been agreed with the other leaders.

Mr Macron had met Mr Zarif on Friday to discuss plans to ease the crisis, which included cutting some US sanctions or setting up a mechanism to compensate Iran for economic losses. In return Iran would have to comply fully with the nuclear deal.

The G7 leaders discussed Iran at the opening summit dinner when the French side insisted that a deal had been agreed.

“As president of the G7, the president [Macron] did indeed get the power to discuss and send a message to Iranian authorities on the basis of the exchanges we had last night,” an unidentified French official said.

Discussions with Mr Zarif have been complicated as he was last month put on a US sanctions list. The US secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision to designate Iran’s chief diplomat was because he was “just as complicit in the regime’s outlaw behaviour as the rest of [supreme leader Al Khamenei’s] mafia.”

The US and the EU have taken starkly different approaches towards Iran. The seizure — and later release — of the Iranian tanker Grace 1 off the Gibraltar coast highlighted continued differences of approach between the EU and the US.

Washington has continued to seek to detain the ship, forcing it to divert from its planned course to Greece, where it was due to arrive on Sunday.

Mr Macron’s attempt to secure an eye-catching breakthrough in the Iran impasse highlighted the intractability of many of the other issues on the agenda for the three-day meeting.

Mr Trump arrived on Saturday in glitzy southern French resort of Biarritz with Iran just one of a raft of policy differences with his G7 counterparts including over trade, tariffs and the environment.

Officials said that the most contentious discussion over the opening leaders’ dinner was not Iran, but the debate about whether to allow Russia to rejoin the club of liberal democracies after it was thrown out over the invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

Mr Trump had threatened to impose sanction on French wine in retaliation for French plans for a digital services tax, which will hit tech giants such as Apple and Google.

Despite the obvious differences, Mr Trump levelled his guns at the “Fake and Disgusting News” media for suggesting that relations between the leaders were tense and claimed the leaders had “very good meetings”.

But the cracks appeared after the first meeting of the day with new British premier Boris Johnson, his closest ally at the talks, when the two disagreed over the US trade war with China. Mr Johnson said he was in favour of “trade peace”.

The discord was spelt out by Donald Tusk, the European Council president, who said told reporters before the meeting that it was “increasingly hard” to find common ground.

“This is another G7 summit which will be a difficult test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders,” he said. “This may be the last moment to restore our political community.”

Mr Johnson — whose amicable meeting with Mr Trump was set to be followed by more turbulent session with Mr Tusk over Brexit — also appeared to allude to the difficulties during comments to Mr Macron.

During a long handshake on Sunday, Mr Johnson told his French counterpart: “You did very well last night. My God, that was a difficult one.”

He also faced protests on Sunday from demonstrators who claim that his challenges to global leaders to tackle climate change have not been matched by his own actions.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/iran-s-javad-zarif-makes-dramatic-entrance-at-g7-summit-1.902296

Trump, Johnson discuss Huawei on G7 sidelines

U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed Huawei and 5G technology at a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a G7 summit in France on Sunday, the White House said.

“The President and Prime Minster also addressed global security issues of mutual concern, especially Iran’s threat to freedom of navigation in the Gulf, tensions in Hong Kong, 5G and Huawei, and instability in Libya and the Sahel region,” the White House said in a statement.

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-g7-summit-trump-johnson-huawei-tech/trump-johnson-discuss-huawei-on-g7-sidelines-idUSKCN1VF08U

Iran’s Zarif arrives for surprise G7 talks, no plan to meet US

Iran‘s top diplomat has arrived in France for surprise talks at the G7 summit, an official announced, as US President Donald Trump appeared to brush aside French efforts to mediate with Tehran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif landed on Sunday in the French seaside town of Biarritz, where leaders of the G7 nations – United States, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Japan – are holding their annual gathering.

French President Emmanuel Macron, the host of this year’s G7 summit, has been leading efforts to defuse tensions triggered by Trump’s decision to exit the internationally-brokered 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions against Tehran.

Macron met Zarif for rare talks in Paris on Friday on the eve of the summit. He has also held telephone talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani 

In a Twitter post, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said Zarif will “continue talks regarding the recent measures between the presidents of Iran and France” during his surprise visit to Biarritz.

But “there will be no talks with the US delegation on this trip”, said Abbas Mousavi. 

Zarif was due to hold talks with France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, a French official told Reuters news agency. 

Earlier on Sunday, Macron told LCI television that the G7 leaders had agreed on “what we wanted to say jointly on Iran”. 

The French presidency told news agencies that the G7 leaders had discussed the issue over dinner on Saturday evening and agreed that Macron should hold talks and pass on messages to Iran.

However, Trump, who has pushed a maximum pressure policy on Iran, pushed back. 

Asked if he had signed off on a statement that Macron intends to give on behalf of the G7 on Iran, Trump said: “I haven’t discussed this. No I haven’t.”

He added: “We’ll do our own outreach, but, you know, I can’t stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk.”

Macron later appeared to backtrack on his team’s comments, saying there was no formal mandate from the G7 leaders.

“Yesterday, we had a discussion from which two priorities emerged. First of all, no member of the G7 wants Iran to ever get a nuclear weapon. Second, all members of the G7 are deeply committed to stability and peace in the region and therefore want to avoid actions that could compromise that,” he said.

“The G7 is an informal group. There is no formal mandate given to anyone in this context. We will each continue to take initiatives to reach our two goals, that’s what’s important. The outcome of yesterday’s discussions is that we will continue to all act, each in their own way.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/iran-zarif-arrives-surprise-g7-talks-plan-meet-190825151050393.html