German Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed the first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, saying, the world can “only benefit” from better relations between Moscow and Washington.
“Everyone would only benefit if Russia and the US establish good and honest direct dialogue with each other,” Merkel told journalists during her news conference concluding the G20 summit in the northern port city of Hamburg.
The German Chancellor said the world still faces a range of problems which can only be resolved through the joint efforts of Russia and the US, including the Syrian crisis, the issue of disarmament and the situation around the Korean Peninsula.
Russia and the US did not resolve all their differences in bilateral discussions on the sidelines of G20 summit, but, nevertheless, created the basis for a future dialog format, she said. Merkel expressed hope that a “healthy relationship” would eventually grow from the exchanges between Putin and Trump.
Politicians “should speak more to each other rather than about each other,” she added.
‘Deep-rooted’ differences between Berlin & Ankara
Merkel conceded that her talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yielded little progress and highlighted “deep-rooted contradictions” between Germany and Turkey.
The recent “developments demonstrated that there are big differences [between us],” she told the news conference, pointing to Ankara’s crackdown on dissenting alleged supporters of the July 2016 failed coup as well as denying German lawmakers visiting rights to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base hosting German troops as reasons for the cooling in relations between the two countries.
Merkel, however, praised Turkey’s contribution to resolving the refugee crisis.
Earlier, Erdogan sharply criticized Berlin for not allowing him to address Turks living in Germany. He thundered that Germany is “committing suicide” by not letting him to speak to his countrymen during the G20 summit and added that he would continue to regard Germany as a terrorist heaven until it surrenders alleged Fethullah Gulen supporters to Ankara.
‘Optimal compromise’ on climate change
The German chancellor also praised the G20 leaders’ “readiness for compromise” and said this was reflected in the joint communique issued following the Hamburg summit. She particularly expressed satisfaction with the fact that all G20 countries, except the US, reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the Paris agreement on climate change.
The G20 leaders’ declaration indeed called the Paris agreement “irreversible” and reaffirms the leaders’ commitment to “move swiftly towards its full implementation in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.”
Even though the US announced its decision to withdraw from the agreement during the summit, Washington vowed to “work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in their nationally determined contributions.”
Putin also welcomed the compromise reached on climate change and said Merkel deserved credit.
“Germany managed to reach an optimal compromise in a difficult situation, in which the summit chairperson [the German Chancellor Angela Merkel] ended up due to the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement,” the Russian leader said during his own news conference.
This compromise “is a positive outcome that could be attributed to the [efforts] of Chancellor Merkel,” he added.
The G20 leaders also reaffirmed their committed to “counter migrant smuggling and human trafficking” as well as their determination to “take action against people smugglers and traffickers.”
The leaders said they are committed to “addressing the distinct needs of refugees and migrants” as well as “protecting the human rights of all persons regardless of their status.”
But they emphasized, that each country has the “sovereign right to manage and control their borders and in this regard to establish policies in their own national interests and national security.”
The joint declaration also underlined the role of open markets and international trade and investments as “important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development.” The G20 leaders vowed to “continue to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices.”