A spokesman for the German Chancellor said yesterday that Angela Merkel refuses to go personally to Washington to attend the summit of the Group of Seven major industrialized countries as proposed by US President Donald Trump, due to the epidemic of "Covid-19".
"Even today, and given the general state of the epidemic, it is not possible to accept her participation personally and on a trip to Washington," Steven Seiffer said to the US "Politico" website. He added, "The Federal Chancellor thanks the president for his invitation to the G-7 summit."
Merkel, who is mainly a specialist in science, is the first official to formally decline the invitation to attend personally, in the Group of Seven that includes Japan, Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Italy.
And Merkel is 65 years old, like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which makes them more vulnerable to infection with the emerging coronavirus, while the United States is the first country in the world in terms of number of victims, with injuries (1.7 million people) and deaths (more than 100,000).
The White House had announced in mid-March that it had abandoned, due to the epidemic, a meeting in the presence of heads of state and government, at the presidential residence in Camp David, in the neighboring state of Maryland, indicating that it would prefer to conduct it through the closed circuit.
But President Donald Trump announced last week that the summit would take place in June "in the largest part of the White House", although some meetings would take place at Camp David.
Trump hopes to win a second presidential term in the elections to be held on the third of November, and he wants this to become the summit of the Group of Seven in the presence of the leaders, a symbol of the normalization of the situation he desperately wants, with the stopping of economic activity, whose electoral costs could be very large.
Earlier Friday, the White House said that Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had contracted the disease and recovered from it, "agreed on the importance of holding a meeting of the Group of Seven in the presence of leaders personally in the near future."
The first reactions of the leaders of the seven countries to Trump's call were cautious. French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel have confirmed that they are ready to participate "if the health conditions allow this." For his part, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed the need to study "expert recommendations".
Trump hopes to win a second presidential term in the upcoming elections, and he desires so that the G-7 summit, with the presence of leaders, becomes a symbol of normalizing the situation, with the stalling of economic activity, whose electoral costs could be very large.