Before G-20, free-wheeling talks on terror; climate, trade on summit table

While Trump’s pullout from the Paris climate accord will be one of the running themes, Merkel told the Bundestag last week that there are “no such compromises likely in Hamburg”, perhaps a reference to the Heiligendamm-like expectations.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Tel Aviv | Updated: July 7, 2017 7:50 am
G20 summit, hamburg summit, angela merkel, climate change, climate protection deal German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets U.S. President Donald Trump on the eve of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Kappeler/POOL

At the G-8 summit at Heiligendamm on Germany’s Baltic coast in 2007, German Chancellor Angela Merkel managed to convince US President George W Bush, who like Donald Trump had pulled out of a global climate pact shortly after taking office, into supporting a new climate deal with substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The German media christened her “Gipfelkoenigin”, or the queen of summits, for her ability to forge compromises between leaders with disparate views.

On Friday, Merkel has called for a free-wheeling discussion on “fighting terrorism” in the wake of the spate of terrorist attacks in the past two years across Europe, including the UK. This will be a leaders’ session, ahead of the beginning of the G-20 summit in Hamburg. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to voice India’s concerns on cross-border terrorism, which is affecting peace in the South Asian neighbourhood.

It will be interesting to watch if and how Merkel is able to generate a common view on the issue, which has seen leaders like US President Trump taking on “radical Islamic terrorism” while others have different views on the subject. Sources said Modi’s talking points will be “extremely focussed” on Pakistan, which has been described by India as the “epicentre” of terrorism.

Climate change and global trade will be top of the agenda for the summit. While Trump’s pullout from the Paris climate accord will be one of the running themes, Merkel told the Bundestag last week that there are “no such compromises likely in Hamburg”, perhaps a reference to the Heiligendamm-like expectations. This year’s G-20 summit’s theme is ‘Shaping an Inter-connected World’ and Modi had said that he was looking forward to “engaging leaders from other G20 countries on the vital issues…”

The PM said world leaders will review progress on decisions since the Hangzhou G-20 Summit last year and deliberate on terrorism, climate change, sustainable development, growth and trade, digitisation, health, employment, migration, women’s empowerment and partnership with Africa.

The first working session will be on global growth and trade, followed by the second session on sustainable development, climate and energy. The leaders will also attend a concert Friday, followed by a dinner with their spouses. The second day will begin with the third working session on partnership with Africa, migration and health, while the fourth working will be on digitisation, women’s empowerment and employment. The closing session is Saturday, after which a joint statement by G-20 leaders will be issued.

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