With the G7 Summit set in Kruen, Germany, President Obama is looking to strengthen weakened ties with Germany and Britain. But will the nations join together in sanctioning Russia?
The G7 Summit in Kruen, Germany looked to mend fences between the United States and host country. Last year, a serious chasm opened up when Edward Snowden claimed Americans were spying on the Germans.
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Time reports that President Barack Obama looked to mend fences. “This morning as we celebrate one of the strongest alliances the world has ever known my message to the German people is simple: We are grateful for your friendship, for your leadership. We stand together as inseparable allies in Europe and around the world."
And Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed eager to carry on, to mend broken trust, as the two enjoyed a traditionally Bavarian meal of sausages and beer. Nearly 800 Germans wore wool hats decorated with feathers and goat hair plumes. The women were in dirndls and men in lederhosen, as the tables were decorated in blue gingham.
Imagery meant to calm Germans as Merkel lead the nation in responding to the President’s words.
“Although it is true we sometimes have differences of opinion today from time to time, but still the United States of America is our friend, our partner and indeed an essential partner with whom we cooperate very closely," said her translator.
"We cooperate closely because this is in our mutual interest. We cooperate because we need it. We cooperate because we want it."
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the BND and U.S. government had been working together. And Merkel claimed that any discussion of spying had been set aside for the summit meeting.
One of the main topics for the close allies was Russia's disregard of sovereign rights in Crimea and continuing issues in the Ukraine.
Obama press secretary Josh Earnest also said the president is pushing sanctions against Russia as a last attempt at avoiding war. “Ultimately it will be up to the Europeans to do so, keeping in mind our shared view that keeping up this unity is very important."
Joking about the chance of a summit happening around Octoberfest, the American president was all smiles as he admitted “there’s never a bad day for a beer and a weisswurst.” He also paid attention to cultural courtesy, saying “I can’t think of a better place to come to celebrate the enduring friendship between the German and the American people.”
The two departed the photo opportunity to join leaders from Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Japan at the Schloss Elmau resort.
Speaking with British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama again pushed for sanctions against Russia. “We’ll be talking about Russia and Ukraine, and the importance of us maintaining the sanctions regime to put pressure on Russian and separatist forces to implement fully the Minsk agreement.”
Remaining hopeful that “there can be a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to this problem” he is also looking for a partnership between the U.S., Europe, and Transatlantic Partnership. Cameron did not seem quite as keen on creating the same dialogue, saying “It’s about keeping people safe back at home, where the cooperation between our security and intelligence services and our military is as close as it’s ever been and as effective as it’s ever been.”
Sky News reports the British leader believes Europe must stay united, even if the sanctions cause financial repercussions. “Britain hasn't let our pre-eminence in financial services get in the way of taking a robust response to Russian-backed aggression and I don't think other countries should either."
Cameron focused on strong economic conditions, which plays into his push for a separation of Britain and the European Union. Climate change and trade deals also played high on his public speaking list, but he kept a lot of information close before the summit.
Unlike Obama, who laid out the need to discuss climate change, trade deals, ISIL and areas in terroristic crisis like Libya and Nigeria, in the opening speech between leaders. The British leader chose to talk to the press instead.
But Cameron did discuss the idea of addressing corruption in international bodies, like the indictments against FIFA leaders earlier this week. "This is something we must not turn a blind eye to as perhaps was done for too long in the world of football." He feels corruption “a cancer at the heart of so many challenges we face in our world,” another possible statement about several current topics.
The G7 summit may be in a hospitable, scenic location, but it looks like President Barack Obama has a long way to go towards convincing leaders to follow his plans.