In the French city of Biarritz, a three-day summit featuring the heads of state from 7 of the world’s largest economies (Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, the USA, France and Japan) has come to a close.
The hottest topics of discussion were trade relations, a nuclear deal with Iran, the protests in Hong Kong, the situation in Libya and (unexpectedly) the fire in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil.
Tehran and the nuclear deal
Tensions with Iran were a top priority at the meeting for obvious reasons. French President Emmanuel Macron predictacly took a globalist view on negotiations with Tehran: “Two things are very important for us: Iran must never have nuclear weapons, and this situation should never threaten regional stability.”
However, he added that discussions on the technical elements of a deal had begun with some real progress.
Macron, who fancies himself a successful diplomat, did not fail to add that he had become an intermediary in the negotiations between Iran and the United States. He told Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif and President Rouhani that if the Iranians had a meeting with Trump, an agreement could be reached.
After stopping in Tehran from Biarritz to change planes, arrived in Beijing.
Important days ahead:
Here, I will present a 25-year roadmap to materialize our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, & actively contribute to Belt & Road Initiative.
Next: Japan and Malaysia.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 26, 2019
“What I hope is that in coming weeks, based on these talks, we can manage to organize a summit between President Rouhani and President Trump.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson took a tough stance on Iran – “Iran should never under circumstances be allowed to get a nuclear weapon.”
“There is clearly an opportunity now for Iran to come back into compliance with the nuclear deal … and to resume dialogue, as well as to cease its disruptive behavior in the region.”
Other G7 leaders declared the need to ensure stability in the region.
For his part, President Trump said that he considers it possible to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, if the right circumstances arise, adding that it would be realistic to foresee a meeting with the head of the Iranian government in the coming weeks. Both leaders are expected to attend the UN General Assembly next month.
The G7 in France was so successful, and yet when I came back and read the Corrupt and Fake News, and watched numerous networks, it was not even recognizable from what actually took place at the Great G7 event!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2019
Iranian FM Javad Zarif himself made a quick visit to Biarritz during the summit, where the head of Iranian diplomacy held talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian which lasted nearly 3 hours, also sitting down with French President Macron for half an hour. During the meetings, the situation around the Iranian nuclear program was discussed. The meeting with Macron was also attended by diplomatic advisers from the UK and Germany.
In addition, Zarif met with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Mer, and the two discussed the problems surrounding the European financial system INSTEX (a system setup for bypassing sanctions against Iran).
Trade and the WTO
In a joint statement following the Biarritz summit, the G7 leaders expressed their commitment to reforming the World Trade Organization. They stated the need to come to an agreement in 2020 on modernizing the international tax system.
Among other interesting economic points, the United States and France came to an agreement on taxing on digital services, affecting American IT giants.
Ecology and the Amazon
G7 leaders agreed to provide more than $20 million to provide emergency assistance to countries fighting the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.
This was not so much an environmental gesture as a shot at Bolsonaro, a leader ranked among “Trump’s friends.” Last week, Macron accused Bolsonaro of lying about his environmental obligations, and Bolsonaro retorted with unflattering comments about Macron’s older wife.
Plus, the deal of France, Germany and Great Britain about climate:
La planète, c'est notre bien commun. La protéger et protéger ceux qui subissent en première ligne les effets du dérèglement de son climat, c’est l’affaire de tous. C'est pourquoi nous, France, Allemagne et Royaume-Uni, doublons nos financements au Fonds vert pour le climat : pic.twitter.com/GUzibHF2ae
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 27, 2019
In their final statements, the leaders spoke in support of a ceasefire in Libya, and pointed out the need to find a political solution to the conflict in the country.
They emphasized that only a political solution will ensure the stability of Libya, and suggested organizing an international conference with the participation of the parties involved in the Libyan conflict and all of the “regional players.”
Johnson expressed a hope that the EU would come to an agreement with Brussels in the end.
The UK’s exit from the European Union, according to him, will occur on October 31 regardless. Johnsons stressed that by then London will have made absolutely colossal, large-scale and fantastic preparations.
The US and China
Shinzo Abe expressed hope that relations between Washington and Beijing would stabilize and that they will be able to come to an agreement, stressing the importance of both countriess for the Japanese economy.
Prospects for a return to the “G8”
President Donald Trump has taken the initiative to help return Russia into the G8. According to him, this is necessary, since many of the issues discussed directly concern Moscow.
However, the proposal met with resistance from some of the participants.
French President Emmanuel Macron noted that Russia will need to be given the opportunity to return only after a solution to the Ukrainian crisis is found. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for her part, pointed out the need for success in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said that the conditions for the return of Russia to the G8 have yet to be fulfilled.
Justin Trudeau spoke out against the membership of the Russian Federation. According to him, Russia’s actions both in Ukraine and in other issues have clearly made it unsuitable for partnership in this group of like-minded people.
“The G7 is a gathering of like-minded nations that have committed to moving forward in a positive way for the global economy
European Council President Donald Tusk said that it is better to invite Ukraine to the next G7 meeting as a guest.
Japan, however, said it was open to the proposal of Russians return.
Following the meeting, French President Macron on Monday announced the upcoming meeting of the leaders of the countries in the “Norman format.” It will be held in September.
He noted that he began discussions on this issue during a meeting with Russian leader Putin about a week ago in Bregancon.
Riots in the background of the summit
As the world leaders talked about peace, 68 people were arrested in protests against the meeting.
In addition to the protest in Biarritz itself, the day before, rallies were held in the adjacent cities of Hyundai and Bayonne. In Bayonne, police used water cannons and pepper gas against demonstrators.
On Friday, August 23, clashes between protesters and police resulted in 17 arrests and 4 policemen being injured.