News World leaders react as Donald Trump considers in-person G7...

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World leaders react as Donald Trump considers in-person G7 summit

News World leaders react as Donald Trump considers in-person G7 summit

US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 17, 2020, in Washington, DC. (AFP-Jim Watson)

U.S. President Donald Trump said he was considering conducting the upcoming G7 summit in Camp David, indicating he would want an in-person meeting rather than a teleconferencing session.

As the coronavirus pandemic spread, Trump in March cancelled the in-person meeting of the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the U.S., which was scheduled for June at Camp David in the US state of Maryland.

“Now that our country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness,’ I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, DC, at the legendary Camp David,” Mr Trump said in a tweet, using his slogan for easing lockdowns.

“The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalisation!”

Following the president’s tweet, world leaders started to cautiously weigh in on the proposal.

During his daily news conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was open to discussing an in-person meeting, while French leader Emmanual Macron said he would travel to the U.S. as long as proper health precautions are in place, according to sources at the Elysee.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel dodged questions as to whether she would attend the G7 summit in person.

“No matter whether in the form of a video conference or otherwise, I will definitely fight for multi-lateralism,” Mr Merkel said.

Mr Trump originally planned for the summit to be at his private golf resort in Florida.

However, he switched the location to the government-owned Camp David compound near Washington DC after facing a backlash.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that Mr Trump wants the meeting to take place in June as previously scheduled and in person.

McEnany would not say if a potential in-person summit would coincide with a lifting on European travel restrictions, which were put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

The border between the U.S. and Canada also remains closed to non-essential travel through June 21.

“America is reopening, the world’s reopening,” McEnany said during a news conference.

“What a show of strength and optimism to have all of the leaders of these countries come together at the White House and pursue business as usual as we move forward through this pandemic,” he added.

Leaders of the G7, the leading industrialised democracies, have conducted video meetings about the coronavirus in the past months. Ministers have also staged similar conferences.

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