Tough debate expected at G7 summit

Taormina - Group of Seven (G7) talks got under way in Sicily on Friday with several clouds hanging over proceedings: the Manchester terrorist attack, looming Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and the EU; North Korea's growing belligerence; questions about US President Donald Trump's position on Russian Federation; and his comments about US ally Germany's trade policies.

The summit, held at a luxury hotel that was once a Dominican monastery and base for the Nazi air force during World War Two, took place a day after Trump blasted North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies for spending too little on defence and described Germany's trade surplus as "very bad" in a meeting with European Union officials.

A senior Italian diplomat said Trump and the heads of Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada saw eye-to-eye on many issues ahead of the two-day summit, but Washington remained isolated on commerce and the environment.

Despite the tight security in Taormina for the G7, Trump insisted on meeting residents in the town as he returned from the summit at lunchtime to the luxury San Domenico Palace Hotel.

A British government source said May would meet President Donald Trump at the G7 meeting, a day after she raised the intelligence leaks in the United States of information relating to the investigation of Monday night's suicide bombing in Manchester.

Together, the three big German automakers employ tens of thousands of people at US factories and dealerships, and operate large vehicle assembly factories in several states that voted for Trump in the 2016 election, including South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

Trump offered two messages shortly after arriving at the G-7 summit of wealthy nations being held in the coastal city of Taormina, Sicily. Though he added that Trump was "interested in what the G-7 leaders have to say".

Leaders from the group of leading industrial nations, the G7, have called on internet giants to crack down on extremist content.

On climate change, the effort to keep Trump onboard will focus on convincing his team that developing renewable energy forms and technology to facilitate cleaner fossil fuels can be drivers of the job-creating growth that he says is his priority. French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and British Prime Minister Theresa May will also be attending the elite club for the first time.

"What we do not want to see is a false compromise on nothing", said Tobias Muenchmeyer, a political expert for Greenpeace.

"His basis for decision ultimately will be what's best for the United States", top economic advisor Gary Cohn said at the annual talks in Sicily.

"I am still trying to convince the doubters", she said on Tuesday, apparently alluding to Trump, who once described climate change as a "hoax" cooked up by China.

The G7 leaders have pushed U.S. President Donald Trump to join the rest of the world in combating climate change, but the President has made no promises despite the White House insisting his views are evolving. On Friday, Trump said he was looking forward to discussing the issue with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying: "It's a big problem".

There will be agreement on the need to do more to tackle violent extremism, and there will be serious discussion with Japan's prime minister about the threat from North Korea, BBC's correspondent said.

Trump is attending his first major worldwide summit but it not the only G7 newcomer.

The White House believes that Trump has made personal breakthroughs with his peers, having now met one-on-one with all the leaders of G-7.

It's the final day of the president's nine-day trip.

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