WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has made no plans to host a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies after cancelling a June gathering because of the COVID-19 pandemic, three diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.
The Republican president, who has refused to accept the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election, has not made a final decision, but time is running out to plan a major summit before he hands over power on Jan. 20, said one of the diplomatic sources and a fourth source familiar with the matter.
Three diplomatic sources said there had been no outreach by the Trump administration on dates or an agenda for a possible G7 summit. While an online meeting would still be possible, there had been no work on any kind of joint statement – a process that typically takes months, said one of the sources.
The White House declined to comment.
Britain, which assumes the rotating presidency of the G7 from the United States in January, last week congratulated Biden on his victory and invited him to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland next year, as well as a G7 summit.
Trump first canceled plans for a June 10 in-person summit in March due to the pandemic, but later sought to revive it, only to drop the plans in May after German leader Angela Merkel said she would not attend and others expressed concerns.
In August, he said he was inclined to host the meeting in a “calmer atmosphere” after the presidential election, but no further action has been taken, said one of the sources.
Trump also said he would expand the invitee list to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India, dismissing the G7 as “a very outdated group of countries.”.
Trump’s push to include Russia met with a frosty reception from Germany and other allies.
Russia was expelled from what was then the G8 in 2014 when Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, was U.S. president, after Moscow annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine. Russia still holds the territory, and various G7 governments have rebuffed previous calls from Trump to readmit Moscow.
The G7 groups the United States, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Italy and Canada, and the European Union also attends. The group began meeting in 1975, initially without Canada.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Jeff Mason; Editing by Chris Reese and Lincoln Feast)