France warns Trump over 'fits of anger' after G7 statement u-turn

2018-06-10 19:27
French President Emmanuel Macron. (Philippe Wojazer, Pool Photo via AP, File)

French President Emmanuel Macron. (Philippe Wojazer, Pool Photo via AP, File)

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France has warned that "fits of anger" could not dictate international cooperation after US President Donald Trump abruptly rejected a previously agreed joint statement in the wake of a fractious Group of Seven (G7) summit in Canada. 

"We spend two days working out a (joint) statement and commitments. We are sticking to them and whoever reneges on them is showing incoherence and inconsistency," President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Sunday in a statement to AFP news agency.

"Let's be serious and worthy of our people. We make commitments and keep them," the presidency said, adding that "France and Europe maintain their support for this (G7) statement".

Minutes after the publication on Saturday of the joint communique that was approved by all the leaders in the G7 bloc - US, France, Germany, Japan, Britain, Italy and Canada - Trump announced on Twitter that he was retracting his support.

In a flurry of tweets from Air Force One, en route to Singapore for a historic summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, Trump accused Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister and host of the summit in Quebec, of being "very dishonest".

He was reacting to Trudeau's declaration that Canadians would "not be pushed around" and would hit back at punishing US tariffs on metal imports with "equivalent tariffs".

Trudeau called the fact that the US had based the tariffs on a national security reason "kind of insulting".

"As Canadians, we are polite, we're reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around," Trudeau said. 

Trump reacted in a tweet: "Based on Justin's false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the US Market!" 

"PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that ... he 'will not be pushed around.' Very dishonest & weak," he added.

May support for Trudeau 

The Trump administration confirmed on May 31 it would apply additional tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and European Union countries, ending a two-month exemption period.

In response, Canada, Mexico and the EU said they were putting in place their own retaliatory measures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who also attended the G7 summit in Canada, stood with Trudeau on the issue of trade.

"When we disagree with our allies on something it is right that we say so and air the issue openly and frankly," she said at a news conference.

"We have done just that at this summit, registering our deep disappointment at the unjustified decision by the US to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminium imports."

The now mooted communique acknowledged the importance of "free, fair and mutually beneficial trade and investment". 

"We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies," it said.  

"This year's G7 meeting is already going down as the G6 + 1, with six members on one side and President Trump on the other," Al Jazeera's John Hendren, reporting from Quebec, said.

"A meeting six of the leaders hoped would end by de-escalating a budding trade war ended up accelerating it."

Speaking on US broadcaster Fox News, US trade adviser Peter Navarro blamed Canada for the disastrous ending to the G7 summit.

"There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door," he said.

"That's what bad-faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did."

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