Sport Allies hope to bond, look beyond virus at G-7 summit in UK
Biden to get warm welcome from relieved but wary allies
LONDON (AP) — When U.S. President Joe Biden flies to Europe this week, he will find his hosts welcoming but wary. His predecessor Donald Trump may be gone, but he leaves a long shadow. Biden’s first foreign trip as president starts Wednesday and includes a gathering of the Group of Seven wealthy nations by the seaside in southwest England, a NATO summit, a meeting with European Union chiefs, and then a tete-a-tete in Geneva with his Russian counterpart and adversary, Vladimir Putin.For most of America’s allies, Biden is a relief.
LONDON (AP) — There will be roundtable meetings, one-on-one chats and a group photo against a picturesque backdrop. When leaders of some of the world’s richest nations meet Friday at the English seaside for a three-day Group of Seven summit, much of the choreography will be familiar.
But the world has changed dramatically.
EU vows a firm response as Brexit tensions rise anew
BRUSSELS (AP) — Top European Union officials vowed Thursday to use all measures available to ensure that the United Kingdom respects the terms of its Brexit agreement with the bloc as tensions rise over trade involving Northern Ireland. “It is paramount to implement what we have decided. This is a question of rule of law,” European Council President Charles Michel said. “We will use all the tools we have in order to make sure that we defend our interests and to protect the integrity of the single market.
Since the G-7 last met two years ago, the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 3.7 million people and decimated economies with lockdowns and layoffs. A planned G-7 meeting in the United States last year was postponed, then canceled.
So when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada to the cliff-ringed Carbis Bay beach resort in southwest England, pandemic recovery — “building back better,” in a phrase both Biden and Johnson like — will top the agenda.
Johnson said the meeting would help move on from “a miserable period of competition and squabbling” that marked the early response to the pandemic.
What Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin Hope to Achieve from Face-to-Face Meeting
After months of mutual mistrust and barbs, the Russian and American presidents will meet on June 16 in Geneva.This could be because the pair will have some awkward topics to discuss when they meet in Geneva on June 16, after months of mutual mistrust and barbs.
Before the pandemic, Johnson planned this to be a climate-dominated summit. He had wanted to make it a major staging post to November’s international COP26 meeting on climate change in Glasgow, eliciting ambitious targets for slashing carbon emissions and expanding green industries.
That's still on the agenda, but the meeting will be dominated by COVID-19, with discussions focusing on physical and economic recovery and building resilience against future pandemics. Lest anyone forget that the virus is still raging, there will be daily coronavirus tests for politicians, diplomats, staff and journalists at the summit.
Britain has been a leader in vaccinating its population, with over three-quarters of adults having received a first dose, and Johnson will urge G-7 leaders to aim to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022.
For Cornwall, G7 summit brings mix of disruption and hope
Falmouth, ENGLAND (AP) — Towering steel fences, masses of police, protests on the beach: The Cornish seaside’s turquoise waters and white sandy beaches are looking decidedly less idyllic this week as leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies descend for a summit. U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are arriving for three days of talks starting Friday at the tiny village of Carbis Bay, near St. Ives in Cornwall. The region is a popular holiday destination in the southwestern tip of England known for its long, picturesque coastline, its mild climate — and a savory pastry called the Cornish Pasty.
Critics say he should put his money where his mouth is. Britain has cut its international aid budget, citing the pandemic, and hasn’t exported any vaccine to other countries — a source of friction with its European neighbors. Biden is expected to announce Thursday that the the U.S. will buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine to share with poor countries.
Johnson noted that the British government helped fund development at Oxford University of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which accounts for one in three doses around the world.
“That is Global Britain in action,” he said Wednesday, using a favorite catchphrase.
France said President Emmanuel Macron wanted to see “results and not just announcements” on vaccines.
“We need a specific calendar -- how many people worldwide and especially in Africa will be vaccinated" before a meeting of the G-20 in Rome in October, an official in the president’s office said, noting that Africa has received under 2% of the world’s coronavirus vaccine doses. The official was not authorized to be identified by name to discuss the agenda.
Ahead of G-7 and U.N. talks, political dissidents and human rights activists pressed the plights of victims
The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy aims to ensure that human rights violations don't go unnoticed.The 13th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, which included representatives from Belarus, China, Cuba, Russia, Zimbabwe and other countries, on Monday and Tuesday aimed to draw attention to people imprisoned in various places, ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council session slated to start June 21.
Even without the pandemic, this would be a moment of flux for the rich countries’ club. It’s a first G-7 summit for Biden and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga, who took office in September. Italy’s Mario Draghi is a veteran of senior international roles but has been prime minister only since February. And it’s the swan song for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will leave office in the coming months after 16 years in power.
The summit is seen as a major test for Johnson, a divisive leader at home and abroad whose two years in office have been dominated by the consecutive crises of Brexit and the pandemic.
Turkish foreign minister in Athens for talks
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is in Athens Monday for meetings with his Greek counterpart and the country’s prime minister as the neighbors and NATO allies seek to mend frayed ties. Cavusoglu was meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. The foreign ministers are to make statements to the media after their meeting. It will be the first time the two have spoken together in public since Dendias visited Ankara in April and their joint press conference descending into a trading of barbs and accusations.
Johnson’s eve-of-summit meeting with Biden on Thursday will be a chance to underscore the trans-Atlantic alliance and to set out his vision of a post-Brexit “Global Britain” as a midsized country with an outsized role in international problem-solving.
That may be a challenge, given the distrust in European capitals and Washington surrounding the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU and the messy process of separation.
Biden has called the blustering Johnson a “clone” of former President Donald Trump and has expressed concern about the destabilizing effect of Brexit on Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that borders the bloc.
He is likely to press Johnson to soothe tensions. Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters aboard Air Force One that the president's commitment to Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace accord was “rock solid.”
Like many prime ministers before him, Johnson plans to summon the spirit of wartime leader Winston Churchill as he tries to charm the president. The two leaders are set to sign a new Atlantic Charter — a 21st century version of the 1941 agreement between Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt that helped lay the foundations for the United Nations and NATO. The British government says Biden and Johnson will pledge to work together for goals including more democracy, greater security and freer trade.
Britain may be the host, but Renata Dwan, deputy director of the Chatham House international affairs think-tank, said it’s striking how much the summit agenda is U.S.-driven.
Biden flourishes in Trump’s absence from the world stage
U.S. allies enthusiastically welcomed Biden to a gathering of world leaders following four chaotic years of the Trump presidency.Biden’s predecessor spent four years disparaging world leaders — in public and on Twitter— accusing their countries of freeloading off the United States. He pulled out of international agreements, refused to sign others and scoffed at the trans-Atlantic alliances that served as a bedrock of U.S. foreign policy in the post-WWII era.
A proposal for a minimum 15% tax on multinational companies, agreed by G-7 finance minister last week, came from the U.S. Biden took allies by surprise when he announced a patent waiver on coronavirus vaccines last month — a move no other G-7 country has yet followed.
Biden will reassure allies at the G-7 — and NATO, when he attends a meeting of the military alliance in Brussels next week — that the U.S. is back as a reliable ally after the Trump years.
But this is a nervous global moment, with Russia increasingly destabilizing its neighbors and Biden continuing Trump’s strong stance against economic and political rival China. Many in Europe feel that American attention is increasingly focused eastward.
Dwan said the G-7 summit is “a chance to say ‘multilateralism is back,’” but big differences lurk beneath the surface.
“You have no real fundamental agreement on whether the focus of the G-7 is on the future — build back better, which is what the U.K. wants to do — or immediate issues: crisis response now in terms of vaccine supply, manufacturing, distribution,” she said.
“Everyone’s going to try to play really nice,” she said. But “in terms of real deals, there’s some real problems.”
Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.
Oldest American, fastest woman on Everest return safely .
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A retired attorney from Chicago who became the oldest American to scale Mount Everest, and a Hong Kong teacher who is now the fastest female climber of the world's highest peak, on Sunday returned safely from the mountain where climbing teams have been struggling with bad weather and a coronavirus outbreak. Arthur Muir, 75, scaled the peak earlier this month, beating the record by another American, Bill Burke, at age 67. Tsang Yin-hung, 45, of Hong Kong scaled the summit from the base camp in 25 hours and 50 minutes, and became the fastest female climber. The record 10 hours and 56 minutes is held by a Sherpa guide, Lakpa Gelu.