From backrooms to banquet, top envoys seek to engage US
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BONN, Germany — Envoys from leading global powers called Thursday for greater
Speaking after a meeting of top diplomats from the 20 largest industrialized and emerging economies, Germany's foreign minister said no single country could solve issues such as climate change, terrorism and mass migration alone.
"It can only be done with
Gabriel said all delegations that spoke Thursday backed a call from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to support multilateral diplomacy. He declined to say whether the U.S. delegation spoke.
Gabriel, who is hosting two days of talks among the so-called Group of 20, also rebuffed demands for Germany to sharply hike its
The Trump administration is leaning heavily on its allies in Europe to raise their
Gabriel said the U.S. was right to ask allies to share more of the
Officially, the talks in Bonn were focused on the 17 so-called sustainable development goals that the international community agreed to aim for by 2030. Recognizing and preventing future crises, as well as support for Africa, were also on the agenda.
In practice, the meeting was an opportunity for many foreign ministers, including those of Saudi Arabia, Britain and Russia, to hold their first face-to-face talks with recently confirmed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Diplomats acknowledged that governments back home are thirsting to learn what President Donald Trump's stated goal of putting "America first" will mean in practice, and what kind of grasp the new administration in Washington has of foreign policy.
The answers they received didn't always add clarity.
France's foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said he left a meeting with Tillerson "preoccupied" by the U.S. stance on the Mideast conflict. Ayrault said Tillerson suggested there might be another solution besides two separate states for Israelis and Palestinians — long the international consensus.
On the nuclear deal with Iran, Ayrault told reporters he felt "a point of divergence" after Tillerson said the U.S. would review the agreement "from scratch."
With trans-Atlantic ties in doubt, some in Europe are casting their eyes elsewhere in search of allies. Gabriel indicated that Germany was keen to improve its sometimes tense relations with Russia and China.
Still, Gabriel echoed the U.S. stance on Ukraine by insisting that Moscow lean on pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine to pull back their heavy weapons from the front line.
The foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany plan to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine at length Saturday at the Munich Security Conference.
Tillerson and Gabriel were scheduled to meet later Thursday, after a banquet dinner that diplomats said was expected to see a "frank and open" discussion about current world crises.
Outside the venue, campaigners from the environmental group Greenpeace unfurled banners with the words "Planet Earth First" from a boat on the Rhine River and a nearby high-rise to protest against climate change.
AP Diplomatic writer Matt Lee in Bonn, Germany, and AP writer Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.
Follow Frank Jordans on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/wirereporter