Coronavirus: Trump, other leaders to meet

Cheryl Sanders
May 22, 2020

Leaders of the G7, the leading industrialised democracies, have conducted video meetings about the coronavirus in the past months.

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. "It would be a great sign to all - normalization!" he tweeted. The pair praised the administration's efforts to expand testing to critical industries, including meatpacking, in their states. The president added there will be an announcement about the meeting early next week. And earlier this week the USA and Canada agreed to keep their shared border closed to nonessential travel through June 21. At the same time, leaders of the group's member nations are in various stages of reopening their own societies.

Trump said the rescheduled meeting could be held in Washington, at an unspecified site, or at Camp David around the same June 10-12 time frame.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked whether it would be appropriate to hold the G-7 while ordinary citizens can not travel to the US from Europe.

If the summit happens, the US would request that delegations be pared back to minimum personnel and would curtail nonessential events like the spousal program.

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

French President Emmanuel Macron was the most positive, saying he was "willing to go to Camp David if the health conditions allow". German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would "wait and see what happens".

Pressed by AP on whether she would consider an actual trip to the U.S., Merkel said: "I chose my words with care".

Nations around the world continue to grapple with the virus, which has led to the deaths of almost 330,000 people and crippled the global economy.

"But we don't know how they're going to organize" a summit for which each leader is traditionally accompanied by dozens of aides", said an official from a second G-7 country.

Speaking on Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would look at what measures the United States was proposing to keep people safe and compare this with expert advice. "So if we do the G7, when that all comes together, probably it will be in the White House, but there could be a piece of it at Camp David, which is nearby".

The G-7 is an annual meeting of top leaders from the United States, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom.

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