US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled they were trying to reconcile some of their differences over trade and climate change on the eve of the Hamburg G20 summit.
Mr Trump travelled to Hamburg after delivering a stark warning in Poland that western civilization was under threat, saying in a speech in Warsaw that “the fundamental question of our time is whether the west has the will to survive…do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”
The two leaders met at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg, where they shared a handshake and brief conversation.
Earlier during Merkel’s visit to US, Trump did not shake Merkel’s hand before cameras in the Oval Office, although they did at other times of her White House visit. And at a news conference later in the day, much to Merkel’s chagrin, Trump make a joke about American spying practices that were found to have swept up the German chancellor’s conversations during President Barack Obama’s administration.
German officials said nothing about the tenor of Thursday’s meeting between Ms Merkel and the US president, but Berlin is increasingly optimistic that it can salvage an agreement from the disputes wracking the G20 and complete a unanimous summit communique.
Germany can score a success by hosting and supporting key bilateral meetings involving Mr Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Ms Merkel said on Thursday that she was not an intermediary but she could “make contributions to solving such problems”