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G7 summit likely to skip communique, reflecting gulf between U.S. and Europe, Japan source says

JIJI

The Group of Seven major industrial nations is expected to forgo adopting a communique at a three-day summit from Saturday in Biarritz, southwestern France, Japanese government sources said Tuesday.

The plan to stop short of issuing a communique reflects the wide rift between the United States and Europe over issues such as free trade and climate change, the sources said.

It would be the first time since the inaugural G7 summit, in Rambouillet, France, in 1975, that a communique has not been adopted at the annual meeting.

“It seems difficult to adopt a leaders’ communique,” a government source said.

Instead, outcome documents are expected to be published for each area of discussion, such as free trade, relations with Iran, the environment and refugees, according to the sources.

The G7 countries faced difficulties compiling an official statement at last year’s summit in Charlevoix, Canada. Despite having issued a communique pledging to “continue to fight protectionism,” U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. delegation to pull out of it, causing disarray.

Differences between the U.S. and other member states were also evident at a summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in Osaka in June, where commitments to fight protectionism were omitted from the meeting’s joint declaration out of regard for the United States.

This year’s summit, themed on “combating inequalities,” will be chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron and attended by leaders of member countries including Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Abe and Trump are expected to hold talks on the sidelines of the G7 summit on Sunday, where they are expected to confirm their cooperation on dealing with North Korea.

The two leaders are likely to discuss a U.S.-proposed coalition to ensure safe navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and bilateral trade talks.

At their previous meeting, in Osaka on June 28, Abe and Trump confirmed their countries’ close cooperation to resolve North Korea’s nuclear, missile and abduction issues.

In his coming meeting with Trump, Abe is likely to express Tokyo’s readiness to further strengthen its alliance with Washington to improve deterrence against Pyongyang.

In addition, Abe plans to ask Trump for cooperation in holding a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an effort to resolve North Korea’s abductions of Japanese citizens.