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Angela Merkel defends Ivanka Trump being seated at G20 leaders' table

As the G20 summit ends, world leaders take stock of each other.
Jul 8th 2017, 7:04 PM 60,106 109

Updated at 7pm

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA Merkel has defended Ivanka Trump being seated at a leader’s table after her father stepped out of a meeting during the G20 summit.

The 35-year-old former fashion model sat down next to Xi Jinping, Angela Merkel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Hamburg, diplomats and the White House confirmed.

The incident fuelled allegations of nepotism against the US leader, who has put family members in top White House positions.

The official emphasised that “when other leaders stepped out, their seats were also briefly filled by others.”

G20 Summit - Partnership with Africa working session Source: Bernd von Jutrczenka via PA Images

Merkel sought to play down the case, saying that it is “in line with what other delegations do” and that Ivanka is engaged in “certain White House initiatives”.

But Trump’s already vociferous detractors were enraged.

Historian Anne Applebaum took to Twitter to denounce what she described “an unelected, unqualified, unprepared New York socialite” being seen as “the best person to represent American national interests.”

Donald Trump Jr, meanwhile, tweeted in defence of his sister:

Climate change

G20 Summit: Global Growth and Trade Working Session Source: John Macdougall via PA Images

As the summit ended today, Merkel said that the ‘Group of 20′ achieved “good results in some areas” despite a logjam with the United States over climate change.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he still hopes to change Donald Trump’s mind on climate, and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s commitment as “very important”.

The summit, held over several days, gave world leaders the opportunity to discuss their main concerns, and to weigh up their opinions of their counterparts.

Merkel said discussions at this year’s summit had been “difficult” at times, adding “I can only call things as they are.”


She pointed to a hard-won agreement on trade, one in which she said “every word was weighed.”

The trade language keeps the G20′s longstanding condemnation of protectionism, but includes themes that echo Trump’s position that trade must be balanced and fair as well as free.

The countries agreed that trade needs to be “reciprocal and mutually advantageous” and that countries could use “legitimate trade defense instruments” to protect their markets.

Nineteen members agreed to support the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US out in a separate paragraph that merely “takes note” of the US rejection.

G20 Summit - Trilateral Talks Source: Carsten Rehder via PA Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin was among the world leaders who reaffirmed its pledge for climate change measures, and he also took the time to remark on his impression of US President Trump after their first meeting.

“The Trump that you see on TV is very different than the real Trump,” Putin told reporters at the G20 in Germany. “There is every reason to believe that we will be able to at least partially re-establish the level of cooperation that we need.”

© AFP 2017

Read: Cars torched, supermarkets looted and 200 officers injured in anti-G20 protests

Read: Trump ‘raised concerns of American people’ with Putin at start of G20 talks today

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