The host of G20 Summit in Hamburg, German Chancellor Merkel, met with US President Trump for a one hour pre-summit meeting, followed by a short statement that they have discussed a variety of issues. Political analysts however explained to Sputnik that the harshest battle may have been fought behind closed doors, and not made public.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with US President Trump for a one hour pre-summit meeting in Hamburg’s Hotel Atlantic on Thursday. The meeting was followed by short statements from both sides that the two leaders discussed trade, climate change, global security, the need to revive the Minsk Agreements and denuclearize North Korea.
“The leaders conferred on a range of shared foreign and security policy priorities, including re-energizing implementation of the Minsk Agreements, de-escalating the conflict between Qatar and some of its Gulf and Arab neighbors, and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the White House said in a statement.
The two leaders held their bilateral meeting in a bid to coordinate on key policy areas ahead of Friday’s G20 summit, according to the statement.
Political scientist Alexander Shpunt, the director of the Institute of Political Analysis Instruments at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics however suggested that the two heads of states might have had very tough talks which have not been made public.
The climate change and free trade are the issues where the US holds a position very different to that of Germany and its European allies, he told Sputnik Radio. He suggested that the harshest battle may have been fought behind closed doors on these issues.
“There might have been the harshest battle as Trump has been very clear that the US is withdrawing from Paris climate agreement. This agreement however is one of the major political victories for Merkel. as a global politician, and she simply can’t lose it, especially ahead of her own elections,” Shpunt told Sputnik.
He further suggested that there could have been a very tough bargaining. The German Chancellor might have suggested shifting major blame on China for the increase of its steel production which provides hydrocarbon emissions. This could soften the position of the US, given Trump’s tough attitude towards China.
The second disputed issue is trade. However here the situation is a lot more complicated, the political analyst said. Europeans were the ones to block the Transatlantic trade agreement, he said, as they were unsatisfied with the conditions pushed by then president Obama. Trump has simply used the opportunity. Hence the negotiations on this issue might have been really very tough.
Alexander Shpunt also suggested why the results of the talks have not been made public.
“Nothing will leak to the public from these talks. Meanwhile, the US and Germany will demonstrate a surprising unity at the G20 Summit. It is very important to Merkel, as she is currently in the midst of her election campaign and she needs to demonstrate that she is able to make agreements even with such tough partners as Donald Trump,” he stated.
In a separate comment on the issue, political expert Dmitry Ofitserov-Belsky noted to Sputnik that such discussions are a normal procedure in the wake of a large-scale event. However, given the current conditions it is especially relevant.
“Preparations for the summit include the discussion of all key issues. At least those countries that intend to promote certain topics are involved. It is obvious that the relations between the US and Germany leave much to be desired. Both want to normalize their relations, but on their own terms,” Ofitserov-Belsky said.
According to the analyst, both parties have already made an attempt to find a common language, but failed. They subsequently tried to hide their failure by making statements in which they were assuring media that their relations are in fact very good.
The expert also recalled the idea of a transatlantic free trade agreement, but noted that it would be almost impossible to implement it now.