Posts Tagged ‘G20 summit’

Top US diplomat calls on Russia to ‘de-escalate’ Ukraine conflict

July 9, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) welcomes US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Kiev on July 9, 2017

KIEV (AFP) – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Russia on Sunday to take action to ease the bloody separatist conflict in the country’s east, which Kiev and the West believe is being fuelled by Moscow.

“It is necessary for Russia to take the first step to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine,” Tillerson said as he made his first visit as Washington’s top diplomat to Kiev.

“We are disappointed by the lack of progress under the Minsk agreement,” he added at a joint briefing with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko after they held talks.

“We do call on Russia to honour its commitments,” Tillerson said, referring to a peace deal aimed at halting the conflict between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed rebels.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the pro-Russian insurgency began in April 2014, which Kiev and the West accuse Moscow of orchestrating.

The US and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia, though Moscow has denied backing the rebels.

Efforts to secure a peace deal have foundered as the fighting has dragged on, and neither side appears prepared to make concessions.

Tillerson’s visit to Ukraine followed a first face-to-face meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Friday at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The conflict as well as Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 have pushed ties between Moscow and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.

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U.S.-Russian Ceasefire Takes Effect in Southwest Syria

July 9, 2017

BEIRUT — A U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire deal for southwestern Syria took effect at noon (0900 GMT) on Sunday, the latest international attempt at peacemaking in the six-year war.

The United States, Russia and Jordan reached a ceasefire and “de-escalation agreement” this week with the aim of paving the way for a broader, more robust truce.

The announcement came after a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit of major economies in Germany.

Several ceasefires have crumbled since the onset of the conflict and it was not clear how much the combatants – Syrian government forces and the main rebels in the southwest – were committed to this latest effort.

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 Free Syrian Army fighter stand near an anti-air craft machine gun in Quneitra, Syria July 8, 2017. REUTERS – Alaa al-Faqir

With the help of Russian air power and Iranian-backed militias, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government has put rebels on the back foot over the last year. The wide array of mostly Sunni rebels include jihadist factions and other groups supported by Turkey, the United States and Gulf monarchies.

Earlier talks between the U.S. and Russia about a “de-escalation zone” in southwest Syria covered Deraa province on the border with Jordan and Quneitra, which borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

A senior State Department official involved in the talks said further discussions would be necessary to decide crucial aspects of the agreement, including who will monitor its enforcement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the deal includes “securing humanitarian access and setting up contacts between the opposition in the region and a monitoring center that is being established in Jordan’s capital.”

The multi-sided Syrian conflict, which grew out of popular protests against Assad’s rule in 2011, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and created the world’s worst refugee crisis.

(Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Trump, Xi, and the G20 — More Consequential Than Russia, Putin

July 8, 2017

EURASIA LIVE

7 JULY 2017 

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U.S. President Donald Trump talks to China’s President Xi Jinping during the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
THE REAL MEETING TO WATCH AT THE G20 SUMMIT

Global hype reached a fever pitch around President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on Friday. But arguably more consequential will be the US president’s sitdown with Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend. The possibility of a trade war with China has never been more real. And speaking of wars, both leaders will be anxious to find a way to pacify North Korea’s growing nuclear threat.

Evan Medeiros, managing director of Eurasia Group’s Asia practice, previews this weekend’s meeting between  the two leaders and the very real pitfalls they both face.

Xi’s fundamental game plan going into the meeting is to stabilize the relationship and to elicit a commitment from Trump not to take further provocative actions. So no more armed sails, no more major military operations in the South China Sea.

The challenge is what the US really wants –  is more and better cooperation from China on North Korea – to really squeeze North Korea to the point at which they’re willing to make a strategic decision to give up their nuclear and missile programs. And while Xi Jinping is unhappy with North Korea, North Korea-China relations are at an all-time low. And China certainly didn’t approve of North Korea’s ICBM test.
Xi is going to be reluctant to agree to a major increase in sanctions on North Korea, fearing that would destabilize North East Asia. So Xi might be willing to give Trump a little bit more – but I’ll depend in part on their effort to negotiate a soft landing in the US-China relationship after the major actions the US took last week.

An additional complication of this meeting is the fact that it comes several months before China’s leadership transition this fall. So in that political context Xi Jinping can’t do anything, commit to anything, that could create a political vulnerability for him. So that will constrain his space to give the US more.

Regardless of the outcome of the meeting, this meeting will be critical to determining the shape and the trajectory of the US-China relationship for the remainder of the year. This is the second time both leaders have met. It comes after a period of US actions that increase tensions are growing on the Korean peninsula. So this meeting will be absolutely critical to determining the future of the US-China relationship.

https://www.eurasiagroup.net/live-post/two-major-economies-face-off

For more analysis of the G20 Summit, head back to Eurasia Live.

‘No, I didn’t hack your election’: Trump challenges Putin over meddling in first face-to-face meeting at G20 summit that went on for two hours and resulted in Syrian ceasefire deal

July 7, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person

  • Donald Trump met Russian President Vladimir Putin face to face for the first time at the G20 summit Friday
  • The meeting ran for two hours and 16 minutes
  • Putin told Russian state media that cybercrime was among the topics discussed
  • Ukraine – a hot topic since Russia’s invasion and lingering hostilities – and counterterrorism came up 
  • Trump told Putin it was ‘an honor’ to be with him in Hamburg, Germany, for first bilateral meeting
  • Trump and Putin’s meeting comes at a pivotal time in relations between Russia and the United States
  • Federal investigators are continuing to look into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election
  • Officials are also investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials
  • The meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 global economic powers opened Friday in Hamburg, Germany

President Donald Trump raised the simmering issue of Russian election interference in a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin – and Putin denied it, according to secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

Bringing up that highly charged issue that his team refused to telegraph was on the table, Trump ‘pressed’ Putin on election interference.

The president ‘pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement,’ Tillerson said. President Putin denied such involvement as I think he has in the past,’ he continued.

Tillerson, who was in the meeting, said the Russians pushed Trump for proof and evidence of a claim the president himself doubted as recently as Thursday.

‘The president at this point pressed him and felt like at this point, let’s talk about how do we go forward,’ Tillerson said.

Trump said that he was 'honored' to meet Putin as they sat down together on Friday afternoon. As the meeting started he said that he and Putin had been 'discussing various things and I think it's going very, very well'

Trump said that he was ‘honored’ to meet Putin as they sat down together on Friday afternoon. As the meeting started he said that he and Putin had been ‘discussing various things and I think it’s going very, very well’

Putin said after the meeting that cybersecurity was among the topics that came up.

Tillerson said the two men agreed the issue had become a ‘substantial hindrance’ to the relationship.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Putin was behind a Moscow-backed effort to interfere in the presidential elections.

They ‘agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the United STates and our democratic process as well as those of other countries,’ according to Tillerson.

He said there was not a lot of ‘relitigating’ of past problems.

‘We simply have to find a way to go forward,’ he said.

But Tillerson who has publicly called out Russia for election interference in the past, said he was ‘not dismissing the issue in any way.’

The face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin stretched on for more than two hours – and was quickly followed by news the U.S. and Russia had reached an agreement on a cease fire in Syria.

The closely-watched meeting had only been scheduled to run for 30 minutes. Instead, it ran for two hours and sixteen minutes.

The cease fire is to take effect Sunday at noon in Damascus, the Associated Press reported, without adding further details. Israel and Jordan were reported to be part of the agreement. The agreement had been in the works for months.

The sign of possible progress in Syria – where Russia is the primary backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – came more than two hours after Trump said it was ‘an honor’ to meet Putin.

The deal, confirmed by three U.S. officials, is distinct from a plan for “de-escalation zones” that were part of a Russia-brokered deal that did not include the U.S.

Putin told Russian state media that cybercrime was among the topics discussed.  Others topics included Ukraine and countering terrorism, Putin said.

Putin told the president he was ‘delighted’ to meet for the first time. And with that, the dance was on.

The two leaders of nations that once squared off in Cold War iciness sat down in a neutral setting Friday, representing their nations at the G20 in Hamburg, Germany.

The men’s first high-stakes handshake had happened hours earlier in a backstage moment captured by a German government photographer.

With the drama all but gone, Trump and Putin sat before cameras in advance of a meeting that was expected to last more than a half-hour.

Accompanying each man was the smallest of entourages: for Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and a translator, and for Putin, his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and a translator.

On the agenda, according to White House officials, was everything from the Ukraine to NATO arms buildups.

Hands extended: Trump and Putin move towards a very public handshake as they sit down at the G20 in Hamburg

Hands extended: Trump and Putin move towards a very public handshake as they sit down at the G20 in Hamburg

 The pair spoke briefly to the press before starting their meeting, and Trump said that he was looking forward to some 'positive talks' with Putin

 The pair spoke briefly to the press before starting their meeting, and Trump said that he was looking forward to some ‘positive talks’ with Putin

Just a few of us: The Russian delegation consisted simply of Putin, his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and their translator, while the U.S. side was President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and their translator

Just a few of us: The Russian delegation consisted simply of Putin, his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and their translator, while the U.S. side was President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and their translator

Establishing a rapport: A White House official said the president had a checklist of things he wanted to deal with but that the meeting was about assessing what sort of relationship he could have with Putin

Establishing a rapport: A White House official said the president had a checklist of things he wanted to deal with but that the meeting was about assessing what sort of relationship he could have with Putin

Putin does the talking: The Russian president said he was 'delighted' to meet with the U.S. leader

Putin does the talking: The Russian president said he was ‘delighted’ to meet with the U.S. leader

No answers: Trump ignored shouted questions on election meddling as he met with Putin, the man said to be behind it - something Trump came close to acknowledging in Poland, but not far enough for Democrats

No answers: Trump ignored shouted questions on election meddling as he met with Putin, the man said to be behind it – something Trump came close to acknowledging in Poland, but not far enough for Democrats

Thin smile: Putin appeared to come close to a grin as Trump made a point about reporters and photographers allowed into the start of their meeting

Thin smile: Putin appeared to come close to a grin as Trump made a point about reporters and photographers allowed into the start of their meeting

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin gave one another a warm welcome on Thursday as they shook hands during their introduction at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin gave one another a warm welcome on Thursday as they shook hands during their introduction at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany

In video of the meeting, Trump is seen shaking Vlad's hand rightie-to-rightie, and using his left hand to pat the underside of Putin's arm 

In video of the meeting, Trump is seen shaking Vlad’s hand rightie-to-rightie, and using his left hand to pat the underside of Putin’s arm

The pair smiled and told one another they would see each other soon in a private meeting. Trump earlier tweeted that he had 'much to discuss' with the Russian leader

The pair smiled and told one another they would see each other soon in a private meeting. Trump earlier tweeted that he had ‘much to discuss’ with the Russian leader

At one point during their brief initial meeting, Putin pointed at Trump as they continued to shake hands. Their private meeting is scheduled for later on Friday

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and EU institutional chiefs Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk were nearby when Trump and Putin greeted one another. Trump is pictured rubbing the Russian leader's back 

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and EU institutional chiefs Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk were nearby when Trump and Putin greeted one another. Trump is pictured rubbing the Russian leader’s back

The promise of a fresh start to US-Russia relations has been eclipsed by allegations of collusion between the Kremlin and members of Trump's election campaign team 

The promise of a fresh start to US-Russia relations has been eclipsed by allegations of collusion between the Kremlin and members of Trump’s election campaign team

Trump watches Putin as he speaks to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker at the G20 summit on Friday

But administration insiders wouldn’t say if the president planned to upbraid his Moscow counterpart for meddling in the election that brought him to power.

And Trump ignored reporters’ questions about whether he would raise the uncomfortable but geopolitically crucial topic.

German chancellor Angela Merkel praised the meeting when asked about it at the summit. ‘I hail Trump and Putin meeting on the summit’s sidelines,’ she said.

Democrats have criticized Trump for taking office under a cloud of controversy, saying the Kremlin installed him in the White House through a series of computer hacking exploits aimed at weakening Hillary Clinton and raising doubts about U.S. election integrity.

Republicans have largely insisted Trump won the Oval Office because Clinton was a weak candidate who ignored the lessons of U.S. electoral history.

As history yields to future, Trump and Putin will inevitably have to get a practical feel for each other, at a time when most of the world imagines them as yin and yang – opposite, but deeply familiar.

One administration official said Friday that Trump ‘would be happy to listen a bit, before making demands, since the two men really don’t know each other.’

A second official said the president would go into the meeting with a ‘mental checklist’ of things to discuss, but that the short window of time meant they would likely have ‘only enough space to establish a working relationship.’

I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally – and I hope that as you have said our meetings will yield positive results.
Putin to Trump

Trump said repeatedly during his campaign that it would be ‘a good thing’ for the United States if Washington and Moscow had a relationship based on more than mutual distrust.

On Friday he told journalists: ‘We’ve had some very, very good talks.’

Through a translator, Putin said phone calls to the White House ‘are never enough, definitely.’

‘I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally – and I hope that as you have said our meetings will yield positive results.’

The first meeting was less choreographed and far less anticipated.

The German government captured the ordinarily hidden first handshakes and back-slaps by mounting a video camera on top of an official photographer’s camera.

Trump was seen shaking Putin’s hand, while using his left hand to pat the underside of Putin’s arm.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, facing them from the other side of a cocktail table, leaned obliviously while the two men appear to chuckle at a private joke.

The surprising gesture was more familiar than anything else shown on the 40-second video clip, which was first published on Facebook.

When Putin greeted UK Prime Minister Theresa May, for instance, the handshake is formal, curt and respectful – with the leaders bowing to each other slightly.

But when Trump came up to the same table to see Putin, the how-do-you-do is more congenial – the stuff of fishing buddies or bowling teammates.

In a later clip, Trump was shown extending his left arm to pat Putin’s back while he smiles broadly.

Until Thursday, the two men had reportedly never met. Trump is trying to establish a rapport with Putin, one White House aide said Friday, in the hope that the two men can reach a detente and avoid a new Cold War.

But the US president’s critics warn that Putin, a former KGB spymaster, is a master of manipulation who can meet every Trump volley with an overhand smash.

The footage was shot during the leaders’ ‘retreat’ – an informal gathering before the more consequential meetings that form the basis of G20 policy discussions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in a family photo along with French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S.President Donald Trump, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, South African President Jacob Zuma, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazilian President Michel Temer, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, U.N. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Senegal's President Macky Sall, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano

German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in a family photo along with French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S.President Donald Trump, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, South African President Jacob Zuma, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazilian President Michel Temer, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, U.N. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano

Trump (second from left in the front row) and Putin (fourth from right in the front row) stood far from another in a group shot of the leaders involved in the G20 summit

Trump (second from left in the front row) and Putin (fourth from right in the front row) stood far from another in a group shot of the leaders involved in the G20 summit

After the photo was take, Macron and Trump chatted as Trudeau and Pena Nieto stood by. Throughout the weekend, the group will discuss climate change and global trade

After the photo was take, Macron and Trump chatted as Trudeau and Pena Nieto stood by. Throughout the weekend, the group will discuss climate change and global trade

Merkel covers her face as she speaks to Trump at the start of the G20 on Friday. US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin (back right) was also at the event

Merkel covers her face as she speaks to Trump at the start of the G20 on Friday. US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin (back right) was also at the event

Putin listens to Merkel as she appears to reference someone's height during the first working session of the G20 

Putin listens to Merkel as she appears to reference someone’s height during the first working session of the G20

Mediator Merkel? The German Chancellor listens in as Macron and Trump exchange a few words 

Mediator Merkel? The German Chancellor listens in as Macron and Trump exchange a few words

Merkel, Trump and Macron talk before getting down to business at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting

Merkel, Trump and Macron talk before getting down to business at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting

Macron and Trump laughed as they stood next to one another during a posed group photo of all of the world leaders at the G20 Summit

Macron and Trump laughed as they stood next to one another during a posed group photo of all of the world leaders at the G20 Summit

Merkel told leaders of the Group of 20 economic powers Friday that millions of people are hoping they can help solve the world's problems, and warned them that they must be prepared to make compromises. Pictured above, Trump and Macron at the event

Merkel told leaders of the Group of 20 economic powers Friday that millions of people are hoping they can help solve the world’s problems, and warned them that they must be prepared to make compromises. Pictured above, Trump and Macron at the event

Before Putin, Trump tried to manage another rocky international relationship as he with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.  Pena Nieto insists Mexico will not pay. Trump hailed Pena Nieto as a 'friend' in their face-to-face meeting on Friday, but said he 'absolutely' wants Mexico to pay for the wall

Before Putin, Trump tried to manage another rocky international relationship as he with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Pena Nieto insists Mexico will not pay. Trump hailed Pena Nieto as a ‘friend’ in their face-to-face meeting on Friday, but said he ‘absolutely’ wants Mexico to pay for the wall

Pena Nieto had been scheduled to visit the White House shortly after Trump took office, but he scrapped the trip at the last minute due to disagreement with Trump over the US president's insistence that Mexico pay for the wall he has vowed to build along the US-Mexico border to deter illegal immigration

Pena Nieto had been scheduled to visit the White House shortly after Trump took office, but he scrapped the trip at the last minute due to disagreement with Trump over the US president’s insistence that Mexico pay for the wall he has vowed to build along the US-Mexico border to deter illegal immigration

From left to right, Trump, China's President Xi Jinping, Merkel, Argentinia's President Mauricio Macri and Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull turn around for photographers at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting

From left to right, Trump, China’s President Xi Jinping, Merkel, Argentinia’s President Mauricio Macri and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull turn around for photographers at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting

British Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump, Chinese President  Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel smile for the cameras

British Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel smile for the cameras

Macron (center right) talks to Merkel (center left, back to camera) as Trump (right) looks on during the opening session of the G20

Macron (center right) talks to Merkel (center left, back to camera) as Trump (right) looks on during the opening session of the G20

Trump talks to the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) and others before the beginning of first working session of the G20 Nations Summit

Trump talks to the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) and others before the beginning of first working session of the G20 Nations Summit

Merkel (center) talks to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (left) as European Council President Donald Tusk (R) listens during the opening session of the G20 summit

Merkel (center) talks to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (left) as European Council President Donald Tusk (R) listens during the opening session of the G20 summit

Trump speaks to Macron and Merkel ahead of the start of the Summit. Trump will be visiting Paris next week in honor of Bastille Day

Trump speaks to Macron and Merkel ahead of the start of the Summit. Trump will be visiting Paris next week in honor of Bastille Day

Trump and his colleagues will remain in Hamburg until Saturday. He earlier tweeted that he had ‘much to discuss’ with the Russian leader.

‘I look forward to all meetings today with world leaders, including my meeting with Vladimir Putin. Much to discuss,’ Trump wrote, adding the hashtag #USA and an American flag emoji.

Friday’s much-anticipated encounter in Hamburg, Germany, comes at a pivotal time in US-Russian relations. Trump will be closely watched to see if he confronts Putin over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Ahead of the G20 Summit’s start, Trump vowed to fight for US interests, despite the ‘Fake News Media’ he claims covers him inaccurately.

‘I will represent our country well and fight for its interests! Fake News Media will never cover me accurately but who cares! We will #MAGA!’ he Tweeted ahead of the G20 Summit, where he will meet with world leaders.

Trump sat next to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May as they prepped to start the first working session of the G20 meeting

Trump sat next to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May as they prepped to start the first working session of the G20 meeting

From left to right, President of Brazil Michel Temer, Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, President of Argentina Mauricio Macri, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Donald J. Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May during the plenary session of the G20 Summit in Hamburg

From left to right, President of Brazil Michel Temer, Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, President of Argentina Mauricio Macri, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Donald J. Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May during the plenary session of the G20 Summit in Hamburg

Merkel, sitting in the center of the room in red, spoke to the group of world leaders at the plenary session of the G20 Summit

Merkel, sitting in the center of the room in red, spoke to the group of world leaders at the plenary session of the G20 Summit

Trump sits alone at the beginning of the plenary session of the G20 Summit as others involved in the talks take their seats

Trump sits alone at the beginning of the plenary session of the G20 Summit as others involved in the talks take their seats

China's President Xi Jinping and Trump begin listening into the discussion on the first day of the G20

China’s President Xi Jinping and Trump begin listening into the discussion on the first day of the G20

Trump (center) smiles towards Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (second right, back to camera) while Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) takes his seat

Trump (center) smiles towards Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (second right, back to camera) while Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) takes his seat

May (left) chats with Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan (second right) and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (second left) at the beginning of the plenary session

May (left) chats with Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan (second right) and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (second left) at the beginning of the plenary session

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto talk at the start of the "retreat meeting"

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto talk at the start of the ‘retreat meeting’

Merkel talks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg

Merkel talks to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg

Merkel gets comfortable as she begins her bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G20 summit on Friday

Merkel gets comfortable as she begins her bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G20 summit on Friday

The president arrived Friday morning after most of his international counterparts, shaking hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a friendly ‘How are you?’ greeting.

Merkel, as the host leader, greeted every head of state personally on a red carpet as camera shutters clicked.

She got kisses on the cheek from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron.

After 15 leaders had arrived, an announcer said the welcome proceedings were over. Merkel exited but came back several minutes later to greet Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump clasped Merkel on the shoulder as they both disappeared inside the G20 meeting room.

During a brief photo call at the top of the leaders’ retreat, Trump was seated between Merkel and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

While May chatted with the US president, Merkel faced away from them and chatted with Macron.

PROTESTERS CLASH WITH POLICE AS G20 GETS UNDERWAY IN HAMBURG

A police station has been firebombed and cars and buildings set alight in the German city of Hamburg, where world leaders are holding crunch talks today.

Police have called for reinforcements after tens of thousands of protesters descended on Hamburg, causing chaos.

Shocking footage shows smoke billowing from vehicles as the city hosting the G20 summit looked like a warzone.

German police confirmed this morning that the police station had been targeted by ‘perpetrators of violence’, as thousands of officers flood the streets anticipating violent demonstrations.

Hamburg police say they have used a water cannon to clear a blockade by protesters ahead of the opening of the Group of 20 summit

Hamburg police say they have used a water cannon to clear a blockade by protesters ahead of the opening of the Group of 20 summit

Police said the incident happened on the banks of the Outer Alster lake, some distance from the trade fair grounds where the summit is being held, on Friday morning. They said they had repeatedly told a group of protesters to clear the road

Police said the incident happened on the banks of the Outer Alster lake, some distance from the trade fair grounds where the summit is being held, on Friday morning. They said they had repeatedly told a group of protesters to clear the road

Officers repeatedly used water cannons, as well as pepper spray and batons, on Thursday evening amid clashes with violent protesters

Officers repeatedly used water cannons, as well as pepper spray and batons, on Thursday evening amid clashes with violent protesters

It comes after more than 70 people were injured in clashes between riot police and anti-capitalists last night, with a march named ‘Welcome to Hell’ descending into chaos.

This morning Hamburg police used a water cannon to clear a blockade by protesters ahead of the opening of the summit.

A spokeswoman for the US First Lady told DPA: ‘We have not received the all-clear from police to leave the residence.’

Other spouses including Theresa May’s husband Philip and French president Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigette have also been told to stay indoors.

A visit to a climate change centre by G20 spouses has been cancelled, DPA reports.

Hamburg police, who are already being backed up by officers from other German states as well as from Austria, made the request for reinforcements ‘in order to get relief’, a spokesman said.

Video shows cars set ablaze during anti-G20 protest in Hamburg
The meeting opens after skirmishes Thursday evening between police and violent protesters elsewhere in the port city, Germany's second-biggest. Police said that at least 76 officers were hurt, one of whom had to be taken to a hospital with an eye injury after a firework exploded in front of him

The meeting opens after skirmishes Thursday evening between police and violent protesters elsewhere in the port city, Germany’s second-biggest. Police said that at least 76 officers were hurt, one of whom had to be taken to a hospital with an eye injury after a firework exploded in front of him

Protesters clash with German police dressed in full swat gaer during the start of the G-20 summit in Hamburg on Friday

Protesters clash with German police dressed in full swat gaer during the start of the G-20 summit in Hamburg on Friday

A female protester is detained by several German police officer during demonstrations in Hamburg during the G20 Summit

A female protester is detained by several German police officer during demonstrations in Hamburg during the G20 Summit

Police push away activists who tried to block a street during the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday, an event gathering leaders from around the world

Police push away activists who tried to block a street during the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday, an event gathering leaders from around the world

Police said the blockade happened on the banks of the Outer Alster lake, some distance from the trade fair grounds where the summit is being held. They said they had repeatedly told a group of protesters to clear the road.

Officers repeatedly used water cannons, as well as pepper spray and batons, on Thursday evening amid clashes with violent protesters.

Up to 100,000 anti-capitalist protesters are expected to descend on the city today, as heads of state including US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin meet for the G20 talks.

Police said that at least 111 officers were hurt during yesterday’s clashes, one of whom had to be taken to a hospital with an eye injury after a firework exploded in front of him. Twenty-nine people were arrested and a further 15 temporarily detained.

Organiser Andreas Blechschmidt criticised what he said was a heavy-handed and ‘massive’ police response with batons.

‘The police should have reacted proportionally… It wasn’t necessary. There are a lot of people injured,’ Blechschmidt said on N-TV. Around 30 people were arrested.

Demonstrators use concrete blocks to barricade the road near Schlump station on the opening day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Demonstrators use concrete blocks to barricade the road near Schlump station on the opening day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Demonstrators use concrete blocks to barricade the road near Schlump station on the opening day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Demonstrators use concrete blocks to barricade the road near Schlump station on the opening day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

‘War, climate change, exploitation are the result of the capitalist system that the G20 stands for and which 20,000 police are here to defend,’ demonstrator Georg Ismail told AFP.

Burned out cars today bear testimony to the violence ahead of the talks. Police believe as many as 8,000 protesters are ready to commit violence. More than 70 people were injured in last night’s clashes.

Officers say they repeatedly asked a group of demonstrators to remove their masks and hoods last night, but instead officers were hit with bottles and bricks – breaking the window of a riot van.

They then decided to separate the group from the rest of the march, which they estimated at 12,000 people in total.

The violence broke out near the start of the demonstration at a riverside plaza used for Hamburg’s weekly fish market.

As leaders arrived yesterday, riot police fired water cannon at a group of about a thousand black-clad protesters who hurled bottles in a demonstration organisers had dubbed ‘Welcome to Hell’.

Some 20,000 police from all of Germany’s 16 states have been deployed on the streets of Hamburg.

The room, a cavernous sea of bright yellow carpet, put at least 50 feet of distance between Trump and Putin, who was seated a quarter of the way around the giant circle.

But the two men did meet and shake hands and greeted each other warmly.

‘They shook each other’s hand and said that they would soon hold a separate meeting, would soon see each other,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

When asked if Putin was looking forward to the talks and whether he had lots of questions for Trump, Peskov said he did.

US lawmakers and federal investigators are continuing to look into Russia’s election interference, along with possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian government officials.

Russia has been accused by four US intelligence agencies of interfering in the national election that hoisted Trump to power last year.

That puts Trump under intense scrutiny over how he handles the sit-down with Putin, a former Russian intelligence agent known to come well-prepared to meetings like this.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the first day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) welcomes Russia's President Vladimir Putin as he arrives to attend the G20 summit in Hamburg

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were greeted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the the G20 summit on Friday

Ahead of the meeting, Trump vowed to fight for US interests, despite the 'Fake News Media' he claims covers him inaccurately 

Ahead of the meeting, Trump vowed to fight for US interests, despite the ‘Fake News Media’ he claims covers him inaccurately

The president arrived Friday morning after most of his international counterparts, shaking hands with  Merkel with a friendly 'How are you?' greeting

The president arrived Friday morning after most of his international counterparts, shaking hands with Merkel with a friendly ‘How are you?’ greeting

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Russia's President Vladimir Putin as he arrives to attend the G20 summit in Hamburg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as he arrives to attend the G20 summit in Hamburg

Merkel and Putin laughed as they shook hands at the start of the G20 Summit on Friday morning. The G20 meetings will last two days

Merkel and Putin laughed as they shook hands at the start of the G20 Summit on Friday morning. The G20 meetings will last two days

During a brief photo call at the top of the leaders' retreat, Trump was seated next to Merkel as all of the leaders said in circular formation

During a brief photo call at the top of the leaders’ retreat, Trump was seated next to Merkel as all of the leaders said in circular formation

Trump chatted with UK Prime Minister Theresa May as Merkel faced away from them and spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron

Trump chatted with UK Prime Minister Theresa May as Merkel faced away from them and spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron

Putin attends a BRICS leaders' meeting as he takes part in the G20 summit in Hamburg ahead of his meeting with Trump on Friday

Putin attends a BRICS leaders’ meeting as he takes part in the G20 summit in Hamburg ahead of his meeting with Trump on Friday

Putin laughed as he spoke with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto as South African President Jacob Zuma sits nearby during a talk at the G20 Summit

Putin laughed as he spoke with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto as South African President Jacob Zuma sits nearby during a talk at the G20 Summit

Putin and Pena Nieto lean across their chairs to talk at the start of the "retreat meeting" on the first day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Putin and Pena Nieto lean across their chairs to talk at the start of the ‘retreat meeting’ on the first day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Trump said at a news conference in Poland on Thursday that Russia ‘could have’ interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign, but he’s not convinced that it was the sole meddler.

‘I think it was Russia, and it could have been other people in other countries,’ Trump said. ‘Nobody really knows.’

He added that the US Intelligence Community has made high-profile mistakes in the past, so ‘nobody really knows for sure.’

Trump sought to redirect any scrutiny toward his predecessor, Barack Obama, accusing him of allowing Moscow to meddle on his watch.

Though the Obama administration warned Russia publicly and privately before Election Day to stop interfering, questions have since been raised about whether the office holder acted aggressively enough to stop the threat.

‘They say he choked. Well, I don’t think he choked,’ Trump said. ‘I think he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and he said, ‘Let’s not do anything about it’.’

Trump said the CIA had informed Obama about the hacking months before the election but added that ‘mistakes have been made.’

In Putin, Trump sees a potential ally in the war on radicalism in the Middle East.

Trump was welcomed with a handshake from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the summit host, as he arrived at the Summit

Trump was welcomed with a handshake from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the summit host, as he arrived at the Summit

Trump tweeted ahead of the summit that he's looking forward to his first meeting with Putin at an international summit in Hamburg, Germany

Trump tweeted ahead of the summit that he’s looking forward to his first meeting with Putin at an international summit in Hamburg, Germany

Leaders of the world's rich and developing nation are discussing a variety of issues over two days of meetings at the G20 Summit, including trade and climate change

Leaders of the world’s rich and developing nation are discussing a variety of issues over two days of meetings at the G20 Summit, including trade and climate change

President Donald Trump is tweeting that "everyone" in Hamburg, Germany is talking about the Democrats' response to Russian election hacking ahead of his highly-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

President Donald Trump is tweeting that ‘everyone’ in Hamburg, Germany is talking about the Democrats’ response to Russian election hacking ahead of his highly-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Trump has two big meetings on his schedule apart from the formal summit agenda. He'll meet for the first time as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin and will also hold talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto

Trump has two big meetings on his schedule apart from the formal summit agenda. He’ll meet for the first time as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin and will also hold talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto

On Thursday, Trump again refused to accept the conclusion by multiple US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered to try to help Trump win last November

Trump's motorcade on Friday was decorated with American and German flags ahead of the G20 summit  in Hamburg

Trump’s motorcade on Friday was decorated with American and German flags ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg

President of France Emmanuel Macron arrived at the summit alongside his wife, Brigitte Trogneux

They were welcomed by the of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz

President of France Emmanuel Macron arrived at the summit alongside his wife, Brigitte Trogneux. They were welcomed by the of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz

THERESA MAY’S HUSBAND JOINS G20 SPOUSES INCLUDING FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON’S WIFE FOR A BOAT TOUR OF HAMBURG

Theresa May’s husband Philip joined the world leaders’ consorts club today as he mingled with spouses of some of the most powerful people on earth.

Mr May, 59, was in glamorous company in Hamburg, Germany, as he made his first overseas foray in the role.

Among those who joined him for a riverboat cruise this morning were French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte and Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

By convention, a separate programme of events is organised to entertain wives, girlfriends and husbands who attend major summits.

Theresa May's husband Philip joined the world leaders' consorts club today as he mingled with spouses of some of the most powerful people on earth. He is pictured (right) in Hamburg today next to Thobeka Madiba Zuma (left), wife of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma

Theresa May’s husband Philip joined the world leaders’ consorts club today as he mingled with spouses of some of the most powerful people on earth. He is pictured (right) in Hamburg today next to Thobeka Madiba Zuma (left), wife of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma

Among those who joined him for a riverboat cruise today were French President Emmanuel Macron's wife Brigitte (left, with Juliana Awada, wife of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri)

Among those who joined him for a riverboat cruise today were French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte (left, with Juliana Awada, wife of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri)

Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, wife of Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and their son Hadrien leave a ship after a boat tour of the spouses programme on the first day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany

Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, wife of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and their son Hadrien leave a ship after a boat tour of the spouses programme on the first day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany

The pictures emerged as it was reported that US First Lady Melania Trump and other spouses had been trapped inside their hotel rooms this afternoon amid fierce protests in the city. Their visit to a climate change centre has been cancelled, DPA reports.

Mr May will spend much of the next two days in the company of Joachim Sauer, Angela Merkel’s husband, who will host the consorts on her behalf.

Mr Sauer, a theoretical chemist who grew up in communist East Germany, is normally a low-profile figure.

He has organised a ‘climate change-themed’ programme for those attending.

Mr May, who is likely to be the only husband in attendance, was due to join the leaders’ wives on a river boat cruise before visiting a climate change centre in the German city.

Brigitte Macron, wife of France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Juliana Awada, wife of Argentine President Mauricio Macri, disembark from a riverboat after a tour of the city

Brigitte Macron, wife of France’s President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Juliana Awada, wife of Argentine President Mauricio Macri, disembark from a riverboat after a tour of the city

Angelica Rivera (left), partner of Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, and her daughter Regina Castro (right) leave the boat 'Diplomat' on the river Elbe as they take part in the G20 Summit Spouse Programme in Hamburg, Germany

Angelica Rivera (left), partner of Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, and her daughter Regina Castro (right) leave the boat ‘Diplomat’ on the river Elbe as they take part in the G20 Summit Spouse Programme in Hamburg, Germany

He is the first British consort to attend a major summit since Sarah Brown.

Samantha Cameron disliked that side of her role and never travelled with her husband to a summit.

On Tuesday it emerged that Sauer, who usually shuns publicity, would take the visiting dignitaries sightseeing and to the spectacular new Elbphilharmonie concert house.

The leaders’ spouses were also due to take in views of Germany’s ‘Gateway to the World’ city on a cruise tour of the country’s biggest port, in whose harbour-front bars the Beatles started their rise to fame.

The G20 spouses’ tour also includes Hamburg’s neo-Renaissance town hall, an imposing building dating from the late 1800s, which boasts almost as many rooms as Britain’s Buckingham Palace.

On Friday evening, the spouses are to be treated to Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, the EU’s anthem, at Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie, whose glass structure is meant to evoke frozen waves, and which offers sweeping views of Germany’s second largest city.

Iriana Joko Widodo (left, wife of Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, and Emine Erdogan (right), wife of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among those who joined the tour

Also in attendance was Akie Abe, wife of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe

Iriana Joko Widodo (left, in red), wife of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, and Emine Erdogan (left, in purple), wife of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among those who joined the tour. Also in attendance was Akie Abe, wife of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe

Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, also travelled to Hamburg as her husband joined G20 leaders

Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, also travelled to Hamburg as her husband joined G20 leaders

The Republican president and his administration have held off on slapping Moscow with new sanctions as they assess Putin’s willingness to work with the US to defeat ISIS and remove Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria.

Experts on Putin have said it is Trump who should be worried that the Russian president will try to earn concessions.

Putin, like other world leaders who have Trump’s number, is most likely to get what he wants by flattering him.

‘I would be surprised if Vladimir Putin offers any concessions in exchange for restoring what Russia sees as its inalienable rights,’ Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, told the Associated Press.

‘If no agreement is reached, Russia will take retaliatory measures, which could trigger new U.S. moves,’ he added.

Trump’s deal-making skills and his electoral victory are especially ripe for the complimenting, foreign leaders have found, although Putin is less likely to bring up the latter than other people in positions of power who have sat across from the billionaire.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, right, welcomes Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G-20 summit in Hamburg

German chancellor Angela Merkel, right, welcomes Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G-20 summit in Hamburg

Trudeau told a German newspaper on Friday the leaders of G20 countries meeting in Hamburg would tell US President Donald Trump he should take the lead in addressing climate change

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron greet each other the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron greet each other the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday

Macron said on Thursday, a day before the start of the G20 Summit, that he supported a two-state solution to end the Middle East conflict

Macron said on Thursday, a day before the start of the G20 Summit, that he supported a two-state solution to end the Middle East conflict

German chancellor Angela Merkel , right, welcomes Britain's Prime Minster Theresa May, at the G-20 summit in Hamburg

German chancellor Angela Merkel , right, welcomes Britain’s Prime Minster Theresa May, at the G-20 summit in Hamburg

May will call on world leaders to choke off funding for terrorists which is being funnelled through the international financial institutions as the G20 meets in Germany

May, who has previously said Britain was disappointed by Trump's decision last month to withdraw the United States from the global agreement, is due to hold a bilateral meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit

May, who has previously said Britain was disappointed by Trump’s decision last month to withdraw the United States from the global agreement, is due to hold a bilateral meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit

A close ally of Syria and Iran, Trump called on Russia from Poland to cease its ‘destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes’ in his most forceful remarks on the subject yet during a Thursday speech.

Russia must choose to join the US and its allies in their ‘fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself,’ Trump said.

Putin’s government is presently aligned with ‘powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests,’ Trump stated.

‘To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare, we must adapt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields,’ he declared.

Russia has made no indications that it would be willing to sell out Assad in order to take out ISIS. To the contrary, it has continued to work with the ruling class in the face of vicious assaults on women and children.

Trump’s attitude coming into office had been to let the civil war in Syria resolve itself. A chemical weapons attack in April that killed 89 changed his mind.

Merkel greets South Korea's President Moon Jae-in as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit. Ahead of the summit, Moon met with Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss North Korea

Merkel greets South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit. Ahead of the summit, Moon met with Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss North Korea

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who earlier in the day had breakfast with Merkel, greets the German chancellor at the start of the G20 summit 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who earlier in the day had breakfast with Merkel, greets the German chancellor at the start of the G20 summit

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, left, greets Merkel at the summit. Rajoy on Wednesday described as "authoritarian delirium" plans by the ruling parties in the northeastern Catalonia region to declare independence from Spain within 48 hours of a promised referendum October 1, if voters say 'yes'

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, left, greets Merkel at the summit. Rajoy on Wednesday described as ‘authoritarian delirium’ plans by the ruling parties in the northeastern Catalonia region to declare independence from Spain within 48 hours of a promised referendum October 1, if voters say ‘yes’

Merkel greets Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto at the beginning of the G20 summit. Pena Nieto will meet with Trump later during the two-day event

Merkel greets Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto at the beginning of the G20 summit. Pena Nieto will meet with Trump later during the two-day event

Merkel welcomes India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg. Modi earlier this week visited Israel, the first-ever by an Indian prime minister

Merkel welcomes India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg. Modi earlier this week visited Israel, the first-ever by an Indian prime minister

Merkel officially welcomes Japan Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to the opening day of the G20 summit. Japan and the European Union agreed a free trade pact on Thursday to create the world's biggest open economic area and signal resistance to what they see as Trump's protectionist turn

Merkel officially welcomes Japan Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to the opening day of the G20 summit. Japan and the European Union agreed a free trade pact on Thursday to create the world’s biggest open economic area and signal resistance to what they see as Trump’s protectionist turn

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, is welcomed by Merkel at the summit, where he will also have meetings with President Trump

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, is welcomed by Merkel at the summit, where he will also have meetings with President Trump

‘These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this horrific attack and all other horrific attacks, for that matter,’ he said during a news conference the following day.

As Trump dropped bombs on the facility in Syria where the attack was launched from several days later he urged ‘all civilized nations’ to join the US ‘in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.’

Before Putin, Trump tried to manage another rocky international relationship as he with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Pena Nieto had been scheduled to visit the White House shortly after Trump took office, but he scrapped the trip at the last minute due to disagreement with Trump over the US president’s insistence that Mexico pay for the wall he has vowed to build along the US-Mexico border to deter illegal immigration. Pena Nieto insists Mexico will not pay.

Trump hailed Pena Nieto as a ‘friend’ in their face-to-face meeting on Friday, but said he ‘absolutely’ wants Mexico to pay for the wall.

Pena Nieto insists Mexico will not pay for the wall.

Saudi Arabia's State Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, left, is welcomed by Merkel on Friday. Saudi Arabia's King Salman isn't attending the event

Saudi Arabia’s State Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, left, is welcomed by Merkel on Friday. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman isn’t attending the event

Merkel, right, welcomes Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, at the G-20 summit. Gentiloni spoke to Trump in a phone call ahead of the event 

Merkel, right, welcomes Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, at the G-20 summit. Gentiloni spoke to Trump in a phone call ahead of the event

Merkel (R) officially welcomes South African President Jacob Zuma (L) on the opening day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Merkel (R) officially welcomes South African President Jacob Zuma (L) on the opening day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Brazil's President Michel Temer is welcomed by Merkel as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit. Earlier this week, Temer had to present his legal defense against corruption allegations, a move seen as a bid to reduce the likelihood of being suspended from office and tried at the Supreme Court

Brazil’s President Michel Temer is welcomed by Merkel as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit. Earlier this week, Temer had to present his legal defense against corruption allegations, a move seen as a bid to reduce the likelihood of being suspended from office and tried at the Supreme Court

Merkel officially welcomes Argentinan President Mauricio Macri to the G20 summit. Last month, Macri boosted public spending ahead of a crucial mid-term election

Merkel officially welcomes Argentinan President Mauricio Macri to the G20 summit. Last month, Macri boosted public spending ahead of a crucial mid-term election

Merkel welcomes the president of the European council, Donald Tusk at the G-20 summit in Hamburg on Friday. Tusk held a joint press conference with Japan's Abe and fellow EU institutional chief Jean-Claude Juncker before the event

Merkel welcomes the president of the European council, Donald Tusk at the G-20 summit in Hamburg on Friday. Tusk held a joint press conference with Japan’s Abe and fellow EU institutional chief Jean-Claude Juncker before the event

Merkel officially welcomes President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker (left) to the opening day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Merkel officially welcomes President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker (left) to the opening day of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Trump said, ‘it’s great to be with my friend the president of Mexico’. Pena Nieto said he hopes to continue a ‘flowing dialogue’.

He reassured Pena Nieto in April that he would not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which involves the United States, Mexico and Canada.

But Trump said he could still withdraw if he concludes that a renegotiated pact would not produce ‘a fair deal’ for all sides.

The Putin meeting is the highlight of a hectic, four-day European visit for Trump, who addressed thousands of Poles in an outdoor speech in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday.

He met in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the summit host, and had dinner with two Asian allies – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in – to discuss North Korea’s aggression.

The Group of 20 gathering of the world’s leading rich and developing nations is the first since Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, deeply disappointing Merkel and other US allies who had hoped to maintain momentum in battling climate change.

Even as Trump has said in vague terms he would like to renegotiate the Paris accord, European leaders have vowed to press forward.

ANGELA MERKEL COMES FACE-TO-FACE WITH ERDOGAN AFTER ‘NAZI PRACTICES’ JIBE

This is the moment German chancellor Angela Merkel came face-to-face with Tayyip Erdogan – months after the Turkish leader accused her of ‘Nazi practices’.

Merkel sat down for talks with the Turkish president last night on the eve of the summit in Hamburg, northern Germany amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

Relations are strained between the two leaders after Erdogan who this week sharply criticised the German government’s rejection of his plans to address Turkish citizens outside the G20 event.

This is the moment German chancellor Angela Merkel came face-to-face with Tayyip Erdogan - months after the Turkish leader accused her of 'Nazi practices'

This is the moment German chancellor Angela Merkel came face-to-face with Tayyip Erdogan – months after the Turkish leader accused her of ‘Nazi practices’

In March the outspoken Turkish leader accused Merkel of ‘committing Nazi practices… to my Turkish brothers and sisters in Germany.’

The accusation, which drew widespread criticism, was one of a string of Turkish comments drawing Nazi parallels with present-day Germany and the Netherlands in a dispute over restrictions on Turkish officials campaigning there in a referendum campaign.

Last night, the pair were pictured shaking hands before a meeting.

It came after Germany rejected a request by Erdogan to address Turkish citizens while attending the G20 summit in Germany in another blow to the troubled ties of the allies.

Sigmar Gabriel said Ankara had submitted a formal request for Erdogan to speak to Turkish citizens in Germany on the sidelines of the July 7-8 summit of leading economies. He said Turkey had ignored his express advice not to do so.

A spokesman for Merkel last week confirmed that Erdogan’s request to speak at a non-G20 event would be denied.

Merkel and Erdogan were pictured shaking hands before a meeting ahead of the start of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Merkel and Erdogan were pictured shaking hands before a meeting ahead of the start of the G20 summit in Hamburg

Gabriel said such appearances by Erdogan, who has addressed Turks in Germany before, would be inappropriate. Germany did not want to play host to the domestic problems of another country, the minister told reporters during a visit to Russia.

He also cited security concerns for Erdogan’s request being rejected.

Ties between Germany and Turkey have soured due to disagreements over a range of political and security issues, worsening significantly in the past year due to Turkey’s jailing of a German-Turkish journalist, Ankara’s refusal to let German lawmakers visit German troops at a Turkish air base.

Among other grievances, Erdogan has decried as ‘Nazi era tactics’ decisions by local German authorities to ban rallies by Turkish politicians before it held a referendum in April which widened presidential powers.

Erdogan has previously been permitted to address Turkish citizens living in Germany, home to an estimated 1.4 million eligible Turkish voters and around 3 million people with a Turkish background.

But Gabriel said he wanted to change that policy for all non-EU countries, given the experiences of the last months, and had discussed the issue with Merkel.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4675262/It-s-honor-Trump-tells-Putin-G20.html#ixzz4mAfY7gmz
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Philip Hammond: People want a ‘sensible Brexit’ — Tells Theresa May it would be ‘madness’ not to seek closest possible ties with EU

July 7, 2017

The Chancellor says Brexit should protect jobs and economy after business leaders call for indefinite delay to leaving single market

 Image may contain: 1 person, closeup
Philip Hammond. The chancellor said it was ‘helpful’ that businesses were entering the Brexit discussion. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Philip Hammond has welcomed an intervention by business leaders who called for an indefinite delay in Britain’s departure from the European single market and customs union and said that people wanted to see a “sensible Brexit”.

The chancellor insisted he was happy to see the CBI making its voice heard, and warned “it would be madness not to seek to have the closest possible arrangement” with Britain’s largest trading partner and closest neighbour.

“I’m glad that the business community is exercising a voice in this discussion. I think that’s helpful,” Hammond said on Friday, in an interview with Bloomberg and Reuters at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

But he said the benefits of the two models should be retained during a transitional period.

He said: “My preference is that we negotiate a transitional structure which takes us outside of those memberships but in the transition phase replicates as much as possible of the existing arrangements, so that the shock to business is minimised for the transition period.”

Hammond – the leading voice for a soft form of Brexit within government – made clear that he thought there were great economic risks if the UK fails to achieve a good deal.

He said: “The thing that I remind my colleagues [about] is that if we lose access to our European markets, that will be an instant effect, overnight, and to people who are looking to us to protect jobs, economic growth, living standards, they won’t thank us if we deliver them an instant hit with only a longer term slowly building benefit to compensate. That’s the concern that we have to have in our minds.”

Asked if there was any chance that Brexit would not happen, the chancellor laughed and said: “No. The British people have made up their minds.”

Read the rest:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/07/people-want-a-sensible-brexit-says-philip-hammond

*************************************

See also:

Philip Hammond warns Theresa May it would be ‘madness’ not to seek closest possible ties with EU

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/07/philip-hammond-warns-theresa-may-would-madness-not-seek-closest/

The Chancellor, who flew to Hamburg with the Prime Minister for the G20 summit, suggested that leaving the EU was a “political argument” and left little doubt that he believes the “economic argument” favours staying in the EU.

De Blasio races to Germany to protest G20 summit — Skips police event with NYPD

July 7, 2017
 Image may contain: 1 person, suit

Mayor de Blasio on Thursday skipped an NYPD swearing-in ceremony made somber by this week’s assassination of a cop — then hours later revealed he was busy preparing to jet off on a surprise trip to join leftist protesters at the G-20 summit in Germany.

Hizzoner’s overseas jaunt was kept under wraps until just 90 minutes before he took off from Newark Airport. A last-minute announcement said he “will attend several events surrounding the G-20 Summit, including Saturday’s Hamburg Zeigt Haltung rally.”

Presumptive Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis accused de Blasio of abandoning pressing issues in the Big Apple to pursue his progressive agenda in Europe.

“Unbelievable. Instead of jet-setting around the world, he should be here doing his job,” said the Staten Island assemblywoman. “A police officer was murdered, street homelessness has skyrocketed and people continue to get delayed on the trains.”

Malliotakis — who later tweeted a doctored image showing de Blasio in an Alpine hat and lederhosen, grinning behind a plate of bratwursts, wienerschnitzel and Pilsner glasses — also blasted him for blowing off the NYPD ceremony at the Police Academy in Queens.

“The mayor should be embarrassed by the way he has treated the men and women of our police department,” she said.

Police are already calling for backup as the violence rages

Police are already calling for backup as the violence rages CREDIT: EPA/FILIP SINGER — Mayor de Blasio is on the side of the protester and NOT THE POLICE.

The head of the NYPD sergeants union also attacked de Blasio.

“As the city mourns, its leader flees,” Ed Mullins said. “And then he wonders why he has a problem with the police. A real leader stays with the city in this time of hardship.”

Less than five hours before de Blasio’s flight to Berlin, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill offered reassurance to 524 new recruits in the wake of Wednesday’s slaying of Officer Miosotis Familia.

The 12-year veteran and mom of three was shot in the back of the head by cop-hating ex-con Alexander Bonds, who opened fire through the window of a mobile command-center vehicle.O’Neill told the recruits he was sure many family members “are questioning whether you’re making the right decision, especially after yesterday’s tragedy in The Bronx.”

“I’m here to tell you, you are making the right decision,” he insisted.

Asked why de Blasio — who spent the day holed up at Gracie Mansion — didn’t join O’Neill to help rally the recruits, spokesman Eric Phillips replied: “Scheduling conflicts.”

O’Neill later offered his condolences to Familia’s 12-year-old twins, Delilah and Peter, during a visit to their home in The Bronx.

“There are so many young officers that have never been through this before and for the next couple of days it’s going to be very difficult for them and for the family, too,” he said.

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“That’s why I stopped by. To let them know that I’m here to support them.”De Blasio was joined on the trip by spokesman Eric Phillips and two other aides, whose travel expenses are also being picked up by Hamburg Shows Attitude.

Phillips said the gifts were approved in advance by the city Conflicts of Interest Board, whose general counsel said it was “prohibited by law from disclosing any information regarding advice we provide.”

In October, de Blasio told a class of NYPD recruits, “We honor you for making this choice,” before adding that “what we owe to you is every effort to keep you safe.”

Following Familia’s slaying, her sister, Adriana Sanchez, ripped de Blasio, saying that “the mayor has to do something for this madn  and that windows on NYPD vehicles should have been made bulletproof “a long time ago.”

Later Thursday, following de Blasio’s departure, City Hall announced a $1.3 million plan to outfit “all NYPD command vehicles used by uniform personnel” with bullet-resistant window panels and other safety upgrades.

The city had already earmarked $10.4 million for window panels in 38,000 patrol vehicles, with 151 equipped as of Wednesday, according to the NYPD.

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http://nypost.com/2017/07/06/de-blasio-races-to-germany-to-protest-g20-summit/

China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi meet on G20 sidelines amid simmering border tensions

July 7, 2017
PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 July, 2017, 6:55pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 July, 2017, 7:08pm

By South China Morning Post Staff Reporter

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over the worst border dispute in years.

The two “had a conversation on a range of issues”, according to a tweet by Indian foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay.

At d BRICS leaders’ informal gathering @ Hamburg hosted by China, PM @narendramodi and President Xi had a conversation on a range of issues

The informal discussion took place when the two were attending a meeting of BRICS leaders. It is unclear whether the ongoing military stand-off in recent weeks between the two countries – involving thousands of soldiers facing off along a contested part of the border in the Himalayas – was raised.

Observers and the media have speculated over whether the two would meet face-to-face at the G20 summit as tensions mount over what China’s envoy to India has said was the most serious confrontation between the two nations in more than 30 years.

No formal bilateral meeting has been arranged.

Chinese and Indian soldiers on a border crossing near India’s northeastern Sikkim state in 2008. A border dispute has been escalating there in recent weeks. Photo: AFP

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2101742/chinas-xi-jinping-and-indias-narendra-modi-meet-g20

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All eyes on Trump and Putin’s first face-to-face meeting at G20

July 7, 2017

AFP and Reuters

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© Kirill Kudryavtsev, AFP | Picture shows traditional Russian wooden nesting dolls depicting US President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at a gift shop in Moscow in July 2017

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-07

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to size each other up in person for the first time on Friday in what promises to be the most highly-anticipated meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

Trump has said he wants to find ways to work with Putin, a goal made more difficult by sharp differences over Russia’s actions in Syria and Ukraine, and allegations Moscow meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

That means every facial expression and physical gesture will be analyzed as much as any words the two leaders utter as the world tries to read how well Trump, a real estate magnate and former reality television star, gets along with Putin, a former spy.

The fear is that the Republican president, a political novice whose team is still developing its Russia policy, will be less prepared than Putin, who has dealt with the past two U.S. presidents and scores of other world leaders.

“There’s nothing … the Kremlin would like to see more than a (U.S.) president who will settle for a grip and a grin and walk away saying that he had this fabulous meeting with the Kremlin autocrat,” Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee, said in an interview on MSNBC.

As investigations at home continue into whether there was any collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia the U.S. president has come under pressure to take a hard line against the Kremlin.

Moscow has denied any interference and Trump says his campaign did not collude with Russia.

On Thursday, Trump won praise from at least one Republican hawk in the U.S. Congress after his speech in Warsaw in which he urged Russia to stop its “destabilizing activities” and end its support for Syria and Iran.

‘NOT MUCH TO AGREE ON’

“This is a great start to an important week of American foreign policy,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has often been critical of Trump on security issues.

But earlier in the day, Trump declined to say definitively whether he believed U.S. intelligence officials who have said that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“I think it was Russia but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure,” Trump said at a news conference, before slamming Democratic former President Barack Obama for not doing more to stop hacking.

Senators’ concerns

Ahead of Trump’s meeting with Putin, three U.S. senators wrote to Trump to express “deep concern” about reports that his administration planned to discuss the return to Russia of diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York that were seized by the Obama administration last year in response to alleged Russian election meddling.

Republican Senators Johnny Isakson and Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said returning the facilities would “embolden” Putin and encourage further efforts by Russia to interfere in Western elections. All three are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The White House declined to offer details on what Trump would request of Putin and what he might offer in exchange for cooperation.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wanted to talk about how the two countries can work together to stabilize war-ravaged Syria.

“The United States is prepared to explore the possibility of establishing with Russia joint mechanisms for ensuring stability, including no-fly zones, on-the-ground ceasefire observers, and coordinated delivery of humanitarian assistance,” Tillerson said before leaving the United States to join Trump in Germany.

Trump was also grappling with a response to North Korea’s successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which analysts say had a long enough range to reach Alaska.

Tillerson—has known Putin since the 90s—will join Trump-Putin meeting

Comey was fired within a month of Tillerson’s last huddle with Putin

Curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions has been Trump’s most pressing foreign policy priority, and he met with leaders from Japan and South Korea on Thursday evening to discuss it. He is also slated to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20.

“I’d like to see the president figure out how to engage Russia on North Korea,” said Representative Francis Rooney, a Republican from Florida who is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“What I suggested to the president here a while back was that since we have all these conflicting issues about Russia right now and we’re still reeling from the fact that they took Crimea, maybe this is an opportunity to reset the Russia relationship in a positive manner,” Rooney said in an interview.

(REUTERS)

 

G20 protests: Why the international summit attracts so much anger

July 7, 2017
Fire burns on Hamburg, Germany street as protesters clash with police
Police scuffle, fire water cannons at G20 protesters in Hamburg, Germany

Police scuffle, fire water cannons at G20 protesters in Hamburg, Germany
Burned BMW with ‘capitalism kills’ written on it during G20 protests

Burned BMW with ‘capitalism kills’ written on it during G20 protests

WATCH ABOVE: Police, G20 protesters clash in Hamburg, Germany

Protesters are taking to the streets in Hamburg, Germany for the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit, and it’s not the first time the world leaders’ summit has attracted demonstrations.

A man holds a placard during a protest ahead the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 5, 2017.

A man holds a placard during a protest ahead the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

The annual summit, which consists of a series of formal and informal meeting between world leaders, often results in protests by advocacy groups calling for change on a variety of topics such as environmental policies, trade deals and labour laws.

Image result for welcome to hell, germany, photos

Julia Kulik, a researcher with the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, says most international summits attract similar protests.

Why do the events attract protests?

The protests centre around an idea of “corporate greed and anti-capitalist views,” Kulik said.

A police car burns after G20 summit protesters set fire to it in downtown Toronto on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

A police car burns after G20 summit protesters set fire to it in downtown Toronto on Saturday, June 26, 2010.  Chris Young/CP

“The G20 was founded to make globalization for the benefit of all,” said Kulik, but after actions such as big-bank bailouts the public became less confident that the summit is “for the people.”

Kulik adds that many protesters want the summit to expand its agenda beyond “traditional economic issues” and address issues affecting the poor.

Transparency issues

There is often a lack of trust in government leaders to make decisions in the best interest of the public, and that is heightened by the fact that many of the summit’s meetings are private.

Kulik says that “99 per cent of what [leaders] do happens behind closed doors,” and press conferences are littered with political jargon.

Justin Trudeau poses with other leaders during the family photo at the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

Justin Trudeau poses with other leaders during the family photo at the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

Adrian Wyld/CP

“Seeing 20-21 people making decisions that affect the entire world is not appealing to a lot of people,” she said, explaining that the public wants to see the “path to reaching decisions.”

Summits are often held in countries that lack press freedom, meaning news coverage of the summit can be limited or censored. Journalists at last year’s summit in China were detained, Kulik pointed out.

What has happened at previous G20 summits?

Protests are generally a part of world leaders’ meetings, but high-profile summits attract the most demonstrations.

WATCH: Protesters take over Hamburg as Trudeau, world leaders arrive for G20 summit

In 2009, the G20 Summit in London, U.K., grew tense when riot police charged on a sit-down protest in the city centre. An estimated 4,000 people demonstrated in the city’s financial district before the summit even began. Following the summit, there were allegations of police brutality on protesters, and several officers were reprimanded.

A year later, the summit drew a similar scene in Toronto, when protests erupted through the city. The protests and large police presence led to the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, with more than 1,000 people sent to a detention centre. A report later found that police violated civil rights and detained some protesters illegally.

While every G20 meeting attracts protests, not all become violent or controversial.

READ MORE: Toronto G20 police misconduct case delayed after complainant axes lawyer

Protests were relatively peaceful at the 2014 Brisbane summit, Kulik says, explaining that location often plays a part in how heated demonstrations become. Australia is geographically isolated, meaning many people can’t easily travel there.

What is expected at this year’s G20 meeting?

About 4,000 marched through Hamburg Sunday, protesting climate and trade policies of the world’s largest economies.

The demonstration, which also saw protesters take to the water with a flotilla of hundreds of small boats, was organized by environmental, labour, human rights and church groups.

WATCH: Anti-G20 protests begin in Hamburg

Authorities are putting in place tight security and declaring certain areas of Hamburg off limits to protesters during the July 7-8 summit. According to The Telegraph, about 20,000 officers will be on guard for potential terror attacks, or should protests turn violent.

Kulik says it is possible things will escalate further because Germany is easily accessible to protesters from around Europe.

“Because of Germany’s history, it’ll be very hard to stop people from assembling,” the researcher says, noting that the country likely won’t want to be seen as limiting freedom of speech or demonstration.

— With files from The Associated Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.http://globalnews.ca/news/3576435/g20-summit-why-people-protest/

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German police fire tear gas as rocks fly at anti-G20 protest — Seventy-six police officers injured

July 7, 2017

AFP

© Christof Stache, AFP | Riot Police use a water cannon during the “Welcome to Hell” rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017.

Video by Luke SHRAGO

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-07

Demonstrations turned violent late Thursday ahead of a tricky first G20 summit for US President Donald Trump, as German police clashed with a hard core of masked anti-capitalist activists hurling bottles and stones.

What should have been a peaceful march by around 12,000 people in Hamburg protesting against globalisation was halted as police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse around 1,000 far-left militants.

Seventy-six police officers were injured, a spokesman for Hamburg’s police told AFP.

“Police are still being attacked,” he said.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Officers called with loudspeakers on protestors to remove their masks but this was ignored and after more objects were thrown, authorities decided to separate them from the other protestors, police said on Twitter.

“Unfortunately it has come to the first clashes. We are implementing corresponding measures,” read another tweet.

Protesters were seen scrambling to leave the scene, while others defiantly stood in the way of water cannon trucks as they moved in surrounded by riot police with helmets and batons.

Police tweeted a photo of a car and flames and said shop windows were smashed.

The main “Welcome to Hell” march was then called off but thousands of people remained as night fell and demonstrators engaged in smaller skirmishes in the back streets of Germany’s second city, AFP correspondents said.

Up to 100,000 demonstrators are expected before and during the two-day Group of 20 meeting gathering Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China starting on Friday.

There were 20,000 police on standby together with armoured vehicles, helicopters and surveillance drones. A holding centre for detainees has been set up in a former hardware store with space for 400 people.

“War, climate change, exploitation are the result of the capitalist system that the G20 stands for and which 20,000 police are here to defend,” demonstrator Georg Ismail told AFP.

‘Welcome to hell’

Major events like the G20 have in recent years usually been held in remote locations, but Germany was forced by its logistical demands to host it in a large city with a big venue and dozens of hotels.

Hamburg is desperate to avoid a rerun of the kind of major clashes seen at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa or the Frankfurt opening of the new European Central Bank building in 2015.

In Hamburg, some 30 demonstrations have been announced, organised by anti-globalisation activists and environmentalists, trade unions, students and Church groups.

“Welcome to Hell” organiser Andreas Blechschmidt said the motto is “a combative message… but it’s also meant to symbolise that G20 policies worldwide are responsible for hellish conditions like hunger, war and the climate disaster”.

Trump to meet Putin

The main focus of attention inside the G20 venue on the first day of the summit on Friday will be Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Putin.

Speaking in the Polish capital earlier on Thursday in front of 10,000 people, Trump didn’t mince his words about Moscow.

“We urge Russia to cease its destabilising activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defence of civilisation itself,” he said.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Arriving in Hamburg later Thursday, Trump headed to talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has vowed to defend the 2015 Paris climate accord despite the US leader’s decision to withdraw.

Merkel said before meeting the US president that Trump was facing isolation within the G20 over the issue — one of several topics where the new US leader is likely to clash with his fellow leaders.

“We are not going to paper over the differences but rather, we will call discord discord. Because there are also different opinions on some important questions,” Merkel said.

Image may contain: 12 people, people smiling, crowd

Trump held a dinner with leaders of South Korea and Japan, focusing on North Korea’s successfully test of an intercontinental ballistic missile this week. He tweeted afterwards only that the meeting was “great”.

In his first public remarks since the test, Trump said in Warsaw that Pyongyang’s military sabre-rattling must bring “consequences” and warned he was considering a “severe” response to its “very, very bad behaviour”.

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