Merkel expresses skepticism over upcoming G7 summit

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Berlin, June 7 (IANS) German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said she expected difficult talks during the G7 summit in Canada later in the week.

Merkel stood for the first time in a question-and-answer session with German lawmakers. Like the debates with the Prime Ministers in the British House of Commons, Merkel answered around 30 questions within one hour, Xinhua reported.

“I think everyone knows that there will be difficult discussions there,” said the Chancellor, referring to the two-day G7 summit, which will start on Friday in Charlevoix in Canada’s Quebec.

The summit comes in as major Western industrialized economies conflicted with the US on Washington’s unilateral trade policies.

“It turns out that we already have a serious problem here with multilateral agreements,” said Merkel on the US action of imposing punitive tariffs upon aluminum and steel products, adding that it is important that Europeans act together and stand for fair and free trade and turn against protectionism.

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Ministers from Germany, France and Britain have written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and finance secretary Steven Mnuchin, urging them to shield European companies operating in Iran from Washington’s new sanctions.

Merkel also noted that currently there is no possibility for Russia to return to the G8 group, but said she supported talks with Russia, saying dialogue is always important.

Merkel was harshly attacked by a lawmaker from the right-wing populist Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) who accused her of the refugee policy that had “seriously damaged Germany”, and urged Merkel to step down.

Merkel countered the allegations, saying that in the “exceptional humanitarian situation” of 2015, Germany acted “very responsibly” by accepting refugees.

The legality of the decisions at that time was confirmed by the European Court of Justice. Since then, the German government has made it clear that it was an exceptional situation, she said.

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–IANS

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