Trump to speak with German French and Italian officials ahead of summit this week

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Celebrate Freedom Rally in Washington, U.S. July 1, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Vastavam web: U.S. President Donald Trump plans to speak with German, French and Italian officials on Monday ahead of a summit of the Group of 20 leading economies this week that could expose his sharp differences with world powers on trade and other issues.Trump, who announced the talks on Twitter, is preparing for the two-day G20 summit that starts in Hamburg on Friday, just over a month after a G7 summit in Sicily showed deep divisions between Trump and other Western leaders on climate change, trade and migration.

Trump will hold separate meetings with various leaders in Hamburg, including host German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and a potentially difficult first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.The White House said in a statement that Trump’s phone calls would be with Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, but did not mention French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump and Macron spoke last week when the U.S. president accepted an invitation to attend Bastille Day ceremonies in Paris on July 14.

In remarks last week, Merkel raised the prospect of an open clash with Trump at the Hamburg summit, although some Trump administration officials have played down the discord.Heather Conley, a State Department official during the Republican George W. Bush administration, said the United States’ European allies are still shocked after the G7 and NATO summits with Trump cast doubt over Washington’s relation with its allies.Russia and the United States are still discussing the timing of the encounter between Trump and Putin, a Kremlin aide said on Monday.

Since Trump was elected U.S. president, Russian has been keenly anticipating his first meeting with Putin, hoping it would trigger a reset in U.S.-Russia relations that plunged to post-Cold War lows under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.