U.S. diplomatic delays, Trump agenda snarl Italy’s G7 agenda

Reuters reports: Italy’s preparations for hosting this year’s Group of Seven major powers meetings have been hampered by the slow transition at the U.S. State Department, which has created decision-making bottlenecks, European diplomatic sources said.

The G7 draws together the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada, with countries taking it in turn to draw up agendas that they see as of pressing concern.

Italy holds the 2017 presidency and its objectives laid out this week appeared to put Rome on a collision course with U.S. President Donald Trump by promoting highly sensitive topics such as climate change, free trade and immigration initiatives.

The G7 foreign ministers meet in Tuscany on April 10-11, preparing for a leaders’ summit in Sicily at the end of May.

However, officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said efforts to reach an agreement on statements and strategy ahead of time – a normal part of pre-meeting G7 diplomacy – were going slowly.

The immediate concerns lay with the State Department, where new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has left vacant numerous positions seen as vital to drafting summit accords. [Continue reading…]

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