Published: Mon, August 26, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump Regrets Not Raising Tariffs on China Higher, White House Says

Trump Regrets Not Raising Tariffs on China Higher, White House Says

France's invitation to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif led to sidebar meetings with French, German and United Kingdom officials in Biarritz Sunday - an attempt by French President Emmanuel Macron to broker an ease in growing tensions, notably in the Strait of Hormuz, where a dispute between the United Kingdom and Iran has been unfolding.

The air-plane which carried Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stands on the tarmac at the airport of the French seaside resort of Biarritz, south-west France, during the G7 summit in Biarritz, on August 25, 2019.

Iranian state television cited the foreign ministry as saying Zarif would not hold talks with US President Donald Trump's summit delegation.

"Road ahead is hard".

In talks held before the summit, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had said the French initiative was "moving in the right direction".

No details were provided on what the G-7 message to Iran would be but Macron said the goal is to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and avoid a further escalation in tensions in the Middle East. "No I haven't discussed that", he told reporters during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Robert Malley, head of the International Crisis Group, a think-tank, said that it was a sign that Trump had given "some positive response" to Macron's proposals for a deal.

On Saturday, the 49-year-old FLOTUS arrived to dine alongside her husband and France's president, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife, Brigitte, at the Biarritz lighthouse wearing a cream-colored Gucci Pleated Technical Jersey Dress.

Mr Zarif also met President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday on the eve of the summit.

The initial remark drew worldwide headlines because Trump is rarely one for second-guessing himself, and instead goes bigger on his ideas in the face of criticism.

At the end of July, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Zarif, saying he "spreads the regime's propaganda and disinformation".

"The president has said before that to the extent that Iran wants to sit down and negotiate we would not set preconditions to those negotiations", he told reporters in France on Sunday.

Tensions, of course, are running high between Tehran and Washington, as they have been ever since the Trump administration past year pulled out of the 2015 nuclear pact orchestrated by the Obama administration.

"I suspect that they (the French) are as cautious as I am", Malley added. Actually, we're getting along very well with China right now", he said, concluding, "So we'll see what happens.

'We agreed on what we wanted to say jointly on Iran, ' he claimed in a television interview that aired on Sunday.

During a working breakfast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump was asked if he had any regrets about recent developments.

And, sitting feet away from Abe, Trump declined to forcefully condemn North Korea's flouting of worldwide sanctions with a recent burst of short-range ballistic missile tests, calling them "much more standard" missiles.

The G-7 summit includes the heads of Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy as well as a representative of the 28-country EU.

Asked if he had any second thoughts about escalating the USA trade war with China, Trump replied: "Yeah, sure".

But there is evidence of rancor behind the scenes, with American officials griping the yearly gathering is being orchestrated to isolate Trump and trade disputes spilling into the open- even with a new friend - as leaders huddle to discuss a flagging global economy.

Trump was asked three times by reporters if he was having second thoughts how the trade conflict with China has escalated.

Afterward, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham clarified his comments in a statement.

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