US president argues Putin should be included in discussions on Iran, Syria and North Korea
Donald Trump has rowed with his fellow G7 leaders over his demand that Russia be readmitted to the group, rejecting arguments that it should remain an association of liberal democracies, according to diplomats at the summit in Biarritz.
The disagreement led to heated exchanges at a dinner on Saturday night inside the seaside resorts 19th-century lighthouse. According to diplomatic sources, Trump argued strenuously that Vladimir Putin should be invited back, five years after Russia was ejected from the then G8) for its annexation of Crimea.
Of the other leaders around the table, only Giuseppe Conte, the outgoing Italian prime minister, offered Trump any support, according to this account. Shinzo Abe of Japan was neutral. The rest the UKs Boris Johnson, Germanys Angela Merkel, Canadas Justin Trudeau, the EU council president, Donald Tusk, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron pushed back firmly against the suggestion.
On that point it became a bit tense to say the least, a European diplomat said. Most of the other leaders insisted on this being a family, a club, a community of liberal democracies and for that reason they said you cannot allow President Putin who does not represent that back in.
That is not such a very important thing for [Trump]. He doesnt share that view, the diplomat added. According to this account Trump argued that on issues such as Iran, Syria and North Korea, it made sense to have Russia in the room. So he had a really kind of fundamental difference about this.