G7 leaders close their summit on Monday with discussion of world problems, including the fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest , but overshadowed by President Donald Trump’s trade wars and questions over the group’s unity.
The summit in Biarritz, a high-end surfers’ paradise in southwestern France, saw a dramatic shift of focus on Saturday when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif flew into discuss the diplomatic deadlock on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.
Zarif’s presence had not been expected and it represented a gamble by French host Emmanuel Macron who is seeking to soothe spiralling tensions between Iran and the United States.
US President Donald Trump said he wanted to see a strong Iran and was not seeking regime change in Tehran, adding that the way Iranians were being forced to live was unacceptable.
He said he had not been surprised that France had invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks on Sunday on the sidelines of the G7 gathering, which were aimed at trying to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran.
However, he said he had not wanted to see Zarif himself, adding that it was too soon for such an encounter.
On the final day, the agenda included discussions of the fires destroying chunks of the Amazon, a scenario that European leaders have described as an assault on the so-called green lungs of the world.
President Macron said the leaders are “all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible.
Trump has been less vocal on the issue. He also stands out from the rest of the G7 in his budding friendship with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.