Trump cancels meeting with Putin at G20
‘Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel the meeting’
President Donald Trump says he’s cancelled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian vessels.
Trump tweeted his decision on Thursday after departing Washington for a world leader summit in Argentina, where he and Putin were to meet.
Trump says “based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!”
Russia recently seized three Ukrainian vessels and crews. Russia said Ukraine didn’t have permission to pass between Russia’s mainland and the Crimean Peninsula. Ukraine insisted its vessels abided by maritime laws.
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump scrapped on Thursday a planned meeting at the G20 summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s detention of a group of Ukrainian sailors.
“Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with Putin,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!,” Trump added, shortly after taking off for the weekend summit in Buenos Aires.
Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that Washington has confirmed the meeting.
Peskov said the meeting in Argentina would start around noon on Saturday with “brief talks between the leaders” followed by broader Russia-us talks that could last around an hour.
Peskov stressed the need for open communication between the leaders, even if they are unlikely to agree on all the issues.
“We need to think about how to start talking about the topics of bilateral relations, the topics of strategic security and disarmament and regional conflicts,” Peskov said.
“We don’t have to agree on all the issues and indeed that may be impossible but we need to talk. That’s in the interests not only of our two countries, it’s in the interests of the whole world.”
The weekend summit is confronted with increasingly dire warnings, by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) among others, of the potential harm faced by the world economy from Trump’s trade wars.
G20 leaders, whose countries account for four-fifths of the world’s economic output, first met in November 2008 to forge a united front against the global financial crisis.
A decade on, that unity has vanished as the “America First” Trump shreds the consensus underpinning international trade and other G20 countries such as Brazil, Italy and Mexico turn to populist leaders.
Trump has already rattled global markets by enacting tariffs on the bulk of Chinese imports, and is threatening to go further in January.
He will press Chinese President Xi Jinping to avert the stepped-up tariffs by throwing open China’s markets to US competition and protecting foreign companies’ intellectual property.
On Wednesday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer slammed Beijing for failing to offer “meaningful reform” on aggressive trade policies, and threatened tariffs on Chinese autos.
But how far can Xi go in overhauling the model that has powered China to second place in the world economic rankings?
He did vow on Wednesday that China would boost protection of intellectual property. But foreign firms in China complain that such promises are all too routine and ring hollow.
At best, analysts say, there will be a temporary truce at the G20 to give both Trump and Xi something to crow about.
French President Emmanuel Macron warned against the risk of “a tete-a-tete between China and the United States and of a destructive trade war for all” ahead of the summit, in an interview with Argentine daily La Nacion.
“If we do not show concrete progress, our international meetings become useless and even counterproductive,” he said.
Tears collect on the face of first lady Melania as she and Donald Trump attend a cold National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on Wednesday.