Watch again: Trump hails 'tremendous unity' of G7 leaders

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump after a joint press conference at the end of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019.
French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump after a joint press conference at the end of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. Copyright REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Copyright REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
By Alice Tidey
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The two leaders have used the summit in Biarritz to focus on different issues with Trump favouring bilateral meeting to discuss trade and Macron concentrating on climate change and the Amazon.


US President Donald Trump hailed the "tremendous unity" between G7 countries as his French counterpart announced that a US-Iran meeting could take place in the coming weeks.

The two leaders, who shook hands several times and appeared in good spirit, spoke at a joint press conference closing the summit in Biarritz, southern France.

Speaking first, Macron — who surprised the other heads of states gathered in Biarritz by holding a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the summit — said the conditions for a meeting between Trump and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, have been created.

He added that a meeting could take place within weeks.

Tensions escalated between Iran and the US last year when Trump pulled the country out of the landmark nuclear accord and reimposed tariffs on the Middle Eastern country, defying European powers who remain in favour of the agreement.

The US President, who renewed his criticism of the deal — known as JCPOA — and reiterated that the US "did the right thing" by pulling out, said nonetheless that Iran is now a "country of tremendous potential".

Regarding a meeting with Rouhani, he told reporters that "if the circumstances were correct or right, I would certainly agree to that" and on the issue of a deal, he said: "We can have it done in a very short period of time."

Paris and Washington, at loggerheads in recent weeks over France's GAFA tax — so-called because it targets technology corporations including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon — have also agreed to work together "to get out of the difficulties that exist between us," Macron said.

He explained that the two countries plan to work together to"modernise the international fiscal system." If they can reach an agreement, France will then scrap its tax.

On the issue of trade, Macron said that "President Trump clearly showed his willingness to reach an agreement" with China and that France supports such a scenario.

Trump announced on Friday that sharp tariff increases on $550 billion (€495 billion) worth of Chinese goods will kick in before the end of the year in to retaliate against new import duties from China.

But he told reporters: "I think they want to make a deal very badly. I think that was elevated last night. The vice-chairman of China came out, he said he wants to see a deal made."

He also described Chinese President Xi Jinping as "a great leader"

Macron and Trump have shown clear different approaches at the latest G7 summit, held in the southern French coastal town of Biarritz, with Trump focusing his attention on bilateral meetings to discuss the economy and relations with China and Macron concentrating on climate change and the situation in the Amazon.

Prior to the summit, the American president had railed against France's GAFA tax and threatened to slap tariffs on French wine in retaliation.

But relations appeared to be on the very cordial with Trump labelling Macron a "spectacular leader" and the two of them even hugging it out as Macron left the stage on Monday afternoon following the press conference

On Saturday, after a one-on-one lunch together, Trump had lauded Macron for a "great job" and described the get-together as "the best meeting we have had yet."

Macron echoed the sentiment on Monday, saying their discussions at lunch had been "the most productive and rich that we've had together."


Was their lunch enough for Trump to shelve his threats on French wine? The American leader evaded the question upon being asked but said, after a journalist pointed out that his wife, Melania, appeared to have enjoyed the beverage: "I can confirm that the First Lady loved your French wine."

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