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Germany's Merkel says many 'thorny issues' at G20

US President Donald Trump spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg. Merkel earlier downplayed expectations Europe and the US could overcome deep differences.

The two leaders had an "extensive discussion" on climate issues, women's entrepreneurship and trade, especially global steel overcapacity, the White House said in a statement on Monday.

"The president said that he looks forward to helping Chancellor Merkel make the summit a success," it said.

Read more: Could the G20 summit usher in new globalization order?

Trump and Merkel will meet for their third time on Thursday, a day ahead of the two-day summit in Hamburg that is expected to highlight deep transatlantic differences over open trade, defense spending, migration and climate change.

Trump's maiden trip to Europe as president in May to attend a G7 summit in Italy and NATO summit in Brussels left European leaders in shock, with Merkel saying later that Europe could no longer rely on the United States.

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Merkel and Trump: Transatlantic breakup?

Last week, Merkel met with other European leaders and vowed to press on with climate protection and fight for open markets despite concerns over protectionism and Trump's "America First" policy.

Read more: Who's who in Hamburg's G20 protests

"The differences are obvious and it would be dishonest to try to cover that up. That I won't do," she said.

On Monday, Merkel sought to downplay expectations of her meeting with Trump and unity on a final communique from the G20 summit.

"We know the positions set out by the American government and I do not expect that these positions will be laid aside because of a two-day trip to Hamburg and that they will be suddenly reflected in the communique," Merkel told a press conference in Berlin on Monday while presenting her party's platform.

She said that while there would likely be agreement on combating terrorism financing, there remains "a whole series of thorny issues" within in the G20.

cw/bw (AFP, dpa)

 

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