Trump foreign tour: G7 leaders turn attention to Africa

European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo at the Greek Theatre during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily,Image copyright

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The leaders of the G7 are due to meet with leaders from five African countries

Leaders of the G7 group of rich nations are meeting African heads of state for talks on the migrant crisis.

The leaders of Tunisia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Niger and Nigeria have joined the second day of the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily.

Italy chose to host the meeting there to draw attention to Africa and the millions of migrants who risk the crossing to Europe.

But discussion has been dominated by terrorism and climate change.

Saturday also marks the last day of US President Donald Trump’s foreign tour.

Attending his first summit, he told his fellow G7 leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan on Friday that he had not yet decided whether or not to endorse the Paris agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It is feared a US withdrawal could cause others to question the deal.

But UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is also in Sicily for the meeting, told the BBC the accord would survive regardless of Mr Trump’s position.

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Media captionAntonio Guterres: “The agreement doesn’t collapse if a country leaves”

Mr Guterres, who was previously the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also travelled to Sicily to call for greater action to deal with migration.

So far this year, more than 1,500 migrants are thought to have drowned in the Mediterranean.

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Italy is keen to encourage the world’s wealthiest nations to support African countries in developing their economies, so fewer young people will feel forced to make the dangerous journey to Europe.

However, a diplomat told news agency Reuters that other Italian proposals – which looked to highlight the benefits of migration and promote a major initiative on food security – were dismissed ahead of the summit.

According to the source, Mr Trump’s administration was unwilling to highlight benefits of human mobility, Reuters reported.

‘No major gaffes’

Once his first foreign trip draws to a close on Saturday, President Trump will return to the US where his approval ratings are low and he is coming under increasing pressure over alleged Russian meddling in November’s election.

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Mr Trump, pictured with wife Melania, is no doubt hoping for positive reviews of his first overseas trip

His chief-of-staff, Reince Priebus, said Mr Trump had shown “his commitment to confronting evil, promoting peace and putting America First on [a] historic and highly successful first trip abroad” in a tweet on Friday.

Meanwhile, US media have already been casting their judgements:

  • The Washington Times said Mr Trump “neared the end of his first foreign trip Thursday by largely fulfilling a transformative agenda that was more ambitious than anything Mr Obama tried overseas during his first year in office”. It went on to note “the president has made no major gaffes on the trip”
  • But James P. Rubin, a former assistant secretary of state for Bill Clinton, was far less forgiving. Writing in Politico, he described Mr Trump as doing little more than “muddling” through the engagements. Mr Rubin went on to say that “despite the highly staged events designed to pump up Trump’s image, the new administration has done nothing on this trip to restore respect and admiration for US international leadership”
  • ABC News, meanwhile, chose to focus on the President’s “awkward body language moments” – including pushing the Montenegrin prime minister out the way.

However, headlines in the US continue to be dominated by alleged links to Russia, and there are whisperings of discontent within his own party over policy decisions.

John Boehner, a former Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives, told energy magazine Rigzone that apart from some foreign policy moves, Mr Trump’s time in office has been a complete disaster, citing healthcare in particular.