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Macron says G7 leaders have agreed on joint statement over Iran

US President Donald Trump, however, has denied signing off on a joint G7 message.

France's President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
France's President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL Macron has said that G7 leaders have agreed joint action on Iran over its nuclear programme with the aim of defusing tensions with the Middle Eastern nation.

US President Donald Trump, however, denied signing off on a joint G7 message to Iran as announced by Macron.

“No I haven’t discussed that,” Trump told reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. 

This contradicted Macron who shortly beforehand had said the G7 countries “agreed on what to say to Iran”.

“We’ll do our own outreach,” Trump said. “But you can’t stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk.”

A landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Western powers and Iran all but collapsed after Trump unilaterally withdrew US support last year, reimposing sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

Macron has been leading efforts to defuse the crisis by finding ways of resuming dialogue, meeting Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif for rare talks in Paris on Friday on the eve of the summit.

He has also held telephone talks with President Hassan Rouhani.

On Sunday, a diplomatic source said G7 leaders had mutually agreed to task Macron with sending a message to Iran.

“Emmanuel Macron was mandated to talk with Iran and address a message” to the country to avoid an escalation in the region, said the source.

The G7 summit of world leaders commenced yesterday and will conclude tomorrow. 

G7 summits, which are attended by the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, were once a meeting of like-minded allies, but have become a diplomatic battlefield under Trump.

Host President Emmanuel Macron wants to make the three-day meeting of the group of seven nations, which started yesterday, an example for international forums.

In an attempt to break the ice, he treated Trump to an unscheduled lunch as soon as he arrived on Air Force One.

Speaking to reporters in English, Macron called Trump “a very special guest” and aides later said that the two men had found some common ground, notably on the Iran nuclear crisis.

© AFP 2019

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