Trump suggests meeting leaders in person for G7 summit

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WASHINGTON : President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested hosting the annual Group of Seven (G7) summit in person rather than by video conference, with the White House touting the occasion as a "show of force" during the coronavirus pandemic.

Leaders of G7, which the US heads this year, had been scheduled to gather at the presidential retreat of Camp David next month until the coronavirus crisis forced Mr Trump to switch to plans for a remote meeting.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said that recovery from the coronavirus pandemic was now going well enough for possibly holding the huge diplomatic gathering in-person.

"Now that our Country is 'Transitioning back to Greatness', I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, DC, at the legendary Camp David.

"The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all - normalization!" Mr Trump tweeted.

His spokesman, Ms Kayleigh McEnany, later told reporters that a face-to-face summit would be a "show of strength and optimism" where leaders would "pursue business as usual as we move forward through this pandemic".

G7 countries - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US - take turns organising the annual gathering. Last year, it was France.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who hosted the 2018 summit, said any in-person gathering would have to prioritise safety.- AFP