President Donald Trump has said he is considering holding a meeting of G7 leaders in the US after all, because it would be a “great sign to all” of things returning to normal during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Trump had scheduled the G7 summit for June 10-12 at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. But in March, he announced he was cancelling the annual meeting because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead.
But Mr Trump has recently been making an aggressive push to see the US economy moving again after many businesses were closed to help slow the virus.
“Now that our Country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness’, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David,” Mr Trump tweeted. “The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!”
It was not immediately clear how such a meeting could be arranged so quickly.
Formal White House preparations for the summit were halted two months ago when it was called off. And the Trump administration has maintained travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for travellers from Europe, home to four of the G7 nations.
And earlier this week the US and Canada agreed to keep their shared border closed to non-essential travel until June 21.
The District of Columbia remains under stay-at-home orders at least until June 8, though Maryland began relaxing stay-at-home restrictions last week. At the same time, leaders of the group’s member nations are in various stages of reopening their own societies.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an interesting idea, but said leaders need a lot more details. He said it is important that G7 leaders meet in June so they can discuss the pandemic and restoring economic activity.
“We need to keep meeting as leaders. Whether that’s virtual or in person we will certainly take a look at what the US is proposing as host of the G7 to see what kind of measures will be in place to keep people safe, what kind of recommendations the experts are giving in terms of how that might function,” Mr Trudeau said.
“There are a lot of discussions to come, but we look forward to having those discussions with the American hosts.”
The US holds the G7’s rotating presidency this year and gets to determine where the meeting is held and set the agenda. Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are the other members.
Mr Trump originally planned to hold the annual summit at his private golf course near Miami. But he switched the venue to Camp David, which he visited last weekend and which is run by the US military, after a public outcry over holding it at one of his money-making properties.