Trump says G-7 summit likely to take place 'primarily' at White House

Trump speaks to reporters as he departs the White House on May 21, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Donald Trump on Thursday (May 21) confirmed plans for a possible in-person summit of Group of Seven (G-7) leaders, saying it would "primarily" take place at the White House.

"It looks like the G-7 will be on," he told reporters.

Trump said it would be "primarily at the White House" and "there could be a piece of it at Camp David," the presidential retreat in Maryland.

Trump first aired hopes for restoring the scrapped summit on Wednesday, calling for his counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to fly in for the event.

Originally, the summit had been scheduled for Camp David in June. As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world, freezing much air travel and forcing entire countries to go into lockdowns, plans were changed to a videoconference meeting.

The White House says it is now putting the huge diplomatic gathering back on the agenda as a "show of strength" when world economies are gradually reemerging from shutdowns.

The G-7 major advanced countries holds its annual meetings to discuss international economic coordination.

Their guidance is now even more important as they struggle to repair coronavirus-inflicted damage.

European Council president Charles Michel on Thursday became the latest high-level leader to give a cautiously positive response to the idea of an in-person summit.

His spokesman said Michel would attend "if health conditions allow."

The United States is the worst-hit country for Covid-19 infections, recording more than 1.5 million cases and over 93,000 deaths.

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