G20: Putin denies US election interference in meeting with Trump, officials say – as it happened

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “G20: Putin denies US election interference in meeting with Trump, officials say – as it happened” was written by Tom McCarthy (now) and Jon Henley (earlier), for theguardian.com on Friday 7th July 2017 22.11 UTC


We’re going to wrap up our live coverage of the G20 summit for the day. Here’s a summary of where things stand:

  • Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shared a convivial meeting in which Trump seems to have confronted Putin about tampering in the US election, which Putin denied.
  • The White House wants to “move forward” from the hacking accusations and accepts “intractable disagreement” with Russia on the matter, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said later.
  • Trump and Putin “connected very quickly”, Tillerson said afterward. “There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two.”
  • The two sides talked about counter-terrorism, cyber-crime, election tampering, Syria, Ukraine and more in a meeting that went nearly 140 minutes – almost two hours longer than planned.
  • The US and Russia announced a ceasefire in southern Syria, where conflict activity has varied over the last two years.
  • Trump and Putin, whose regime is implicated in the murder of journalists, shared a chuckle about conflict with the media.
  • Putin seemed in a good position to claim a win from the outing.
  • German chancellor Angela Merkel said there had been “very difficult” talks on trade.
  • British prime minister Theresa May spoke about possible future trade deals with counterparts including Japan, China and others.
  • Read our politics Minute roundup of the day’s events.
  • Read our coverage of mass protests in Hamburg:


Rioters collect stones in Schanzenviertel quarter in the St. Pauli district during the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Rioters collect stones in Schanzenviertel quarter in the St. Pauli district during the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Photograph: Carsten Koall/EPA
Hamburg, Germany.
Hamburg, Germany. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Banquet in the Elbphilarmonie concert hall.
Banquet in the Elbphilarmonie concert hall. Photograph: FELIPE TRUEBA / POOL/EPA

Great flowers on that table.

The stadium of Hamburg’s football club FC St Pauli is right in the heart of the district where many of this week’s clashes between protesters and police have taken place.

The club, whose supporters have a reputation around the world for their leftwing and countercultural politics, has even offered up its stadium as a shelter for protesters during the G20 summit.

St Pauli’s technical director Ewald Lienen told The Guardian’s Berlin correspondent Philip Oltermann of his concerns about the escalating situation in the city:

Dinnertime. Image via CSPAN:

Analysis: Putin and Trump, cut from the same cloth?

As they leaned deeply towards one another in Hamburg, it was all too easy to see and hear the similarities between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Trump said it was “an honor” to be with Putin, who gushed that he was “delighted to meet” Trump.

“We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia and for the United States and for everybody concerned,” Trump offered. You can only wonder at the scale of conservative outrage if Barack Obama had hoped first for Russian happiness, and second for American success.

“America first” takes second place when Vladimir is sitting close to Donald.

“We spoke over the phone with you several times,” Putin replied. “But phone conversations are never enough, definitely.” How true. In any long-distance relationship, you need something more physical to make it real. Along with a team of collaborators with curiously close ties throughout a big election and its aftermath.

It’s tempting to think that Trump and Putin are cut from the same cloth.

They both like to style themselves as strongmen…

Read the full piece:


Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron, Donald and Melania Trump, Angela Merkel and Moon Jae-in.
Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron, Donald and Melania Trump, Angela Merkel and Moon Jae-in. Photograph: MICHAEL UKAS / POOL/EPA
The Elbphilarmonie concert hall.
The Elbphilarmonie concert hall. Photograph: MICHAEL UKAS / POOL/EPA
German police advance toward protesters during a demonstration at the G20 summit in Hamburg.
German police advance toward protesters during a demonstration at the G20 summit in Hamburg. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
Protesters burn barricades as police attempt to control the area.
Protesters burn barricades as police attempt to control the area. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

There have been no reports that Trump mentioned the Russian takeover of Crimea in his meeting with Putin. On Thursday Trump accused Russia of “destabilizing activities” in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Analysis: Putin likely to count Trump meeting as a win

Guardian Moscow correspondent Shaun Walker writes:

Vladimir Putin is likely to count the format and tone of his long meeting with Donald Trump as a win – even if nothing much of substance was discussed.

Russia’s election hacking was raised during the meeting, but it does not appear to have taken top billing. US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said Trump was “rightly focused on how do we move forward” from the issue, while Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov even claimed Trump had told Putin he accepted the Russian leader’s denials of involvement.

Setting up a working group on non-interference in future elections – as Tillerson said had been agreed – is hardly likely to reassure those in Washington worried about Russia’s actions.

A trustworthy account of exactly how the meeting went down is unlikely to surface: another win for Putin was the makeup of the room. In addition to the two presidents, the only people present were the respective foreign ministers and two translators. This means there is no chance of leaks, as happened when Lavrov visited the White House in May and it later emerged that Trump had shared sensitive intelligence with the Russians.

The personalised format of the meeting excluded those in Trump’s team who are more sceptically minded on Russia, such as national security adviser HR McMaster, and Trump’s senior Russia adviser Fiona Hill, a longstanding Russia expert.

Russian television emphasised the length of the meeting, which ran more than four times over its scheduled half-hour length, as a sign of Russia’s importance. The news of a US-Russia agreement on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria, announced as the meeting was ongoing, is an example of the kind of top-table diplomacy Putin would like to do with Trump.

Putin looked impassive, but he would have been smiling inside. As journalists were hurried out of the room, Putin appeared to gesture to Trump and ask if these journalists were the ones who had insulted Trump, laughing at his own joke.

Presumably Putin had been briefed that a disdain for supposed “fake news” would be a promising area of potential common ground with the US president.

Arrests and injuries as Hamburg gripped by mass anti-G20 protests

A day of violent clashes between police and protesters culminated on Friday evening with the bizarre spectacle of the heads of the world’s 20 leading economies listening to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy at the top of a shiny high-rise building while police used water cannons, teargas and speed boats to keep at bay an angry crowd of thousands.

Germany’s second-largest city had been eager to showcase its recently opened Elbphilharmonie concert hall to the rest of the world, but it may came to rue its ivory-tower symbolism after a week of chaotic scenes on the edges of the conference hall.

Protesters sit in front of police water cannon vehicles during the G20 summit in Hamburg.
Protesters sit in front of police water cannon vehicles during the G20 summit in Hamburg. Photograph: Carsten Koall/EPA

Rising tensions between protesters and police had escalated with clashes in Hamburg’s historic harbour area on Thursday night, and escalated further when masked anti-capitalist protesters torched cars and smashed shop windows in the Altona district on Friday morning.

Masked protesters in black clothes used flares to set fire to at least 20 cars and pelted rocks at the windows of banks and smaller shops as they made their way through Altona and along the Elbchaussee road along the river at about 7.30 am on Friday morning.

Many shops and cafes in the area, including a local Ikea, boarded up their windows in anticipation of further rioting.

Melania Trump, the wife of the US president, Donald Trump, was reportedly stopped from attending an event in the G20’s supporting programme by the protests. “Police have not given us security clearance to leave the guest house,” Trump’s spokesperson told German press agency dpa.

Read further:

May raises North Korea in meeting with Chinese president

Politics editor Anushka Asthana is at the summit:

Theresa May has had a 30-minute bilateral meeting with China’s Xi Jinping in which she raised questions over North Korea and steel-dumping, but also talked of a “golden era” of relations between the two countries.

A senior No 10 official said the session began with the president saying that Chinese investment into Britain had increased since the Brexit vote, and that was a sign of confidence in the country.

“He said that Brexit was a very big event for the world but that he believed a prosperous and stable and open UK and prosperous and stable and open EU would be positive for the world and that China would work to further promote its interests with Britain and with the European Union,” they said.

May said that as the UK got ready to leave the EU it wanted to build on trade agreements with other countries, including China. The official added: “The prime minister said because the countries have such a strong relationship they can discuss the areas in which they have differences.”

In particular, she talked about overproduction of steel, and said she wanted China to put more pressure on North Korea.

Trump-Putin: ‘neither one of them wanted to stop,’ Tillerson says

White House aides sent Melania Trump into the Putin-Trump meeting around the 80-minute mark to try to break it up, but the meeting went on for another hour, Tillerson said, AP reports:

“There was so much to talk about,” said Tillerson. “Neither one of them wanted to stop.”

He added that at one point, aides sent in first lady Melania Trump to try to wrap up the talks, but the meeting went on another hour after that, “so clearly she failed.”

It’s unclear when Putin and Trump will meet again, Tillerson says.

Putin gets chummy with Trump over conflict with media

Watch Putin confidentially lean in to Trump, stick his thumb at the media and ask about Trump’s problems with the press:

Here’s further language from Tillerson, this time via CBS News, in which the secretary of state indicates that the White House wishes to move quickly past Russia’s flat denial of election tampering, which contradicts US intelligence assessments (and which tampering is at the center of multiple ongoing congressional and justice department investigations which could implicate people around the president or possibly the president):


‘Clear positive chemistry’

More from the Tillerson news conference:

The conference is off camera, but here White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweets a picture:

Russia demands proof of election tampering – Tillerson

The declassified version from January of the US intelligence report assessing Russian tampering in the US election is here.

Tillerson has told reporters that a working group would be set up to establish a framework agreement on cyber-crime and non-interference in elections, Reuters reports.

Tillerson further touted the southern Syria ceasefire agreement as a watershed moment of cooperation, Bloomberg reports:

Further details of the agreement per Tillerson via Bloomberg:

A “de-escalation agreement” was agreed to by US, Russia and Jordan regarding ceasefire in southwest Syria, Tillerson tells press in Germany.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov confirms a ceasefire in southwest Syria will begin Sunday, July 9 at noon.

Tillerson: Trump wants to move past election tampering

Tillerson said he thinks Trump “is rightly focused on how do we move forward from something that may be an intractable disagreement at this point,” the AP reports.

The “intractable disagreement” being conflicting Russian and US views on who tampered with the US election.

The Russian side says Trump accepted Putin’s denial of tampering.

US intelligence agencies have warned that Russia will keep up efforts to interfere in US and other elections, and that a failure to acknowledge the tampering makes the United States more vulnerable to future tampering.

US, Russia offer contradictory versions of conversation about election tampering

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that Trump had accepted Putin’s denial of tampering in the US election.

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson, however, offered a different picture. He told reporters that it was not clear whether the two countries would ever come to a resolution on the question of election interference.

Tillerson said that Trump had pressed Putin more than once about Russian involvement in election tampering, and Putin denied Russian tampering.

Here’s the Guardian’s Shaun Walker with more on Lavrov’s statement:

An unusually irritable Sergei Lavrov took questions from the Russian media. It sounded like there had been few major breakthroughs.

The most interesting part was his claim that Trump had told Putin he found it “strange” that there was a “campaign” over alleged Russian hacking in the election as there has been no proof.

Lavrov claims Trump told Putin he had heard his entreaties that Russia did not hack the election and accepts them.

That’s at odds with Rex Tillerson’s account of a fundamental disagreement.

Putin denied election tampering in Trump meeting – reports

Both US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov have said that Putin denied Russian tampering in the US election.

AP reports simply that Tillerson said that Putin denied a Moscow role:

The Russian minister reports that Trump accepted Putin’s version of events.


Tillerson says Trump ‘pressed Putin’ on election tampering – CNN

CNN reports that secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who was in the Putin meeting, said Trump “pressed Putin more than once” about election tampering. Here’s the network’s Jeff Zeleny:

Trump and Putin acknowledged cyber threats and interference in elections, Secretary Tillerson says. “Very robust and lengthy exchange.”

Here’s NBC with a similar report:

NEW (pt 2): Tillerson says @POTUS pressed Putin on more than one occasion about election interference (!!) Says Putin again denied it.

The Trumps arrive at dinner.
The Trumps arrive at dinner. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
German police water cannons are seen as protesters sit on the street next to the Elbphilharmonie concert hall.
German police water cannons are seen as protesters sit on the street next to the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
Demonstrators face policemen during a protest next to the Elbphilharmonie.
Demonstrators face policemen during a protest next to the Elbphilharmonie. Photograph: Steffi Loos/AFP/Getty Images

Putin briefly describes conversation with Trump

Putin went straight from meeting Trump to talks with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe. He apologised for his lateness due to the talks with Trump overrunning, and in opening remarks reported by Interfax, Putin said he and Trump had discussed “Ukraine, Syria, and other bilateral problems. We returned to the problems of fighting terrorism and cybersecurity”.

It’s evening concert time for Trump and other G20 attendees (Hamburg is six hours ahead of New York).

The Russian Interfax news agency advises that Putin says he and Trump discussed Syria, Ukraine, the fight against terrorism and cyber crime, Reuters reports.

No readout yet from the US side.

Is that the camera catching Angela Merkel incidentally looking up, or is this an epic eye roll?

Merkel has a solid repertoire of understated facial expressions for navigating awkward moments with overbearing counterparts. Viz.:

Trump jokes about wiretapping at Angela Merkel press conference

Southern Syria front under new ‘ceasefire’ at varying levels of conflict

Fighting in the southern Syrian province of Daraa has recently picked up despite a nominal ceasefire. In June the Assad regime and its Russian allies began a campaign of aerial bombardment that observers speculated was a prelude to a broader operation to wrest control of the province, which sits by the Jordanian border.

For most of the past two years, the southern front had been quieter than other parts of Syria as the rebels’ backers – based in Jordan – limited their support.

The Syrian army had already announced a ceasefire earlier this week already – and several times before – but violence has continued and the opposition said those announcements are ruses aimed at getting them to join peace talks.

The Russian-American announcement seems to indicate that this time there will be superpower backing for a ceasefire that Moscow and its Syrian allies had previously violated.


The Trump-Putin meeting is indeed over, the travelling US press pool cites an unnamed state department official as saying.


Note to readers: this is Tom McCarthy in New York taking over for Jon Henley.

Trump-Putin meeting concludes – Russian media

Russian TV reports that the bilateral meeting has concluded after 140 minutes.

Two hours for Trump and Putin

The Trump-Putin meeting has passed the two-hour mark, according to timepieces on the scene kept by CNN and NBC.

Has Trump found time to bring up Russia’s attempts to wreck the US presidential election, from hacking emails belonging to the Clinton campaign and Democratic party, to disseminating false news stories, to an apparently oceanic phishing scheme, to tampering with voter rolls – to possibly colluding with US political operatives?

In the US on Friday, intelligence and justice officials have been decrying Trump’s refusal to state unequivocally, as US intelligence agencies have, that Moscow was behind the election tampering.

Sally Yates is the former acting attorney general fired by Trump for her refusal of his travel ban:

James Clapper is the former director of national intelligence:


US, Russia agree Syria ceasefire – AP

The Associated press is citing US officials as saying the US and Russia have reached an agreement for a ceasefire in southwest Syria to take effect on 9 July at noon Damascus time.

The news came as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin were continuing their talk at the G20 summit in Hamburg. AP said the officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

The deal marks a new level of US involvement in trying to resolve Syria’s civil war. The two countries have backed opposing sides in the war.


According to US broadcaster NBC, citing pool reports, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are still talking:

President Trump and President Putin are still talking 90 minutes into meeting, per pool. They had originally been scheduled for 30 minutes.

Germany’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, has condemned the violent clashes at the summit that have left 160 police officers injured and seen more than 40 protesters arrested.

“Every peaceful protest is welcome,” Maas told the daily Bild. “But that is no free pass for unrestrained rampage … These extremist criminals don’t belong in the streets, but in court. Whoever torches cars and injures police officers does not deserve any kind of tolerance.”

Separately, the Hamburg fire department said 11 protesters had been severely injured and were in hospital fell off a wall during confrontations with police.

Trade talks ‘very difficult’ – Merkel

Angela Merkel has said in remarks to reporters at the Hamburg summit that it had so far produced “very difficult” discussions on trade.

The German chancellor said negotiators “still have a great deal of work ahead of them” to reach an agreed passage on trade in the summit’s closing communique, adding that most participants called for “free but also fair trade” and underlined the significance of the World Trade Organisation.

Concerns about Donald Trump’s “America First” approach have dominated trade talks at the G20 meeting. Merkel the discussions were “very difficult, I don’t want to beat about the bush with that.”

The German chancellor added that “most” of the G20 participants had backed the Paris climate accord, and described the violent protests in the city as unacceptable.


China’s Xi Jinping urges open world economy

China’s president, Xi Jinping, has called on G20 members to champion an open world economy, strengthen economic policy coordination and forestall risks in financial markets, Reuters reports.

Citing the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, Reuters said Xi also urged member states to follow a “multilateral trade regime” amid concerns over mounting protectionist pressures, including from Donald Trump’s US administration.

“We must remain committed to openness and mutual benefit for all so as to increase the size of the global economic ‘pie’,” Xi was quoted as saying. The world’s economy was still troubled by deep-seated problems and faces many uncertainties and destabilising factors, he added.
Xi had already offered a vigorous defence of globalisation and signalled Beijing’s desire to play a bigger role on the world stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.


This almost professionally shot video, uploaded to YouTube today, gives some idea of what the Hamburg protests must feel and look like from the perspective of the hardcore “Black Block” protesters:

Anti-capitalist protestors in action on the fringes of the G20 summit in Hamburg.


A little light relief? Caption competitions for photographs of world leaders at the Hamburg summit are doing the rounds on Twitter. Here’s a fine entry from writer and Guardian night team member Simon Ricketts:

Guardian political editor Anushka Asthana, who is travelling with Theresa May, has news of the prime minister’s bilateral meeting with Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, to discuss the migration crisis in the Mediterranean:

“The two leaders agreed that a team from Home Office and DFID will travel to Italy to offer expertise on processing papers and other documents to allow migrants to be returned to their source country,” a Downing street spokeswoman said.

“They also committed to work together to tackle the problem upstream. They will work together on how best to spend £75million pledged by DFID to help migrants making the journey from Africa to the central Mediterranean route.”

The government has announced some of the money will be made available to fund voluntary returns home for migrants.


The Guardian’s diplomatic editor, Patrick Wintour, has a slightly fuller account of the long-awaited first meeting between Trump and Putin. The brief conversation in front of reporters took place just before the two withdrew for private talks:

Trump said: “We’ve had some very, very good talks. We’re going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue. We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia and for the United States and for everyone concerned.”

Speaking through a translator, Putin said: “We spoke over the phone… but phone conversations are never enough, definitely.

“If you want to have a positive outcome in bilaterals and be able to resolve most international policy issues, that will really need personal meetings. I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr President. And I hope, as you have said, our meeting will yield positive result.”

Trump did not respond to repeated shouted questions about whether he would raise the politically toxic issue of Russian hacking of the Novemver 2016 presidential election.


The leaders of the US, Japan and South Korea have condemned North Korea’s ballistic missile test this week as a “major escalation” and promised to apply “maximum pressure” to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear threat.

The launch was “a major escalation that directly violates multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions and that clearly demonstrates the growing threat” North Korea poses, the three countries said in a joint statement.

“President Trump reaffirmed the ironclad commitment of the United States to defend the ROK (Republic of Korea) and Japan using the full range of its conventional and nuclear capabilities,” they added.

The Guardian’s Berlin bureau chief, Philip Oltermann, has more on allegations by the Hamburg protest organisers of police provocation:

Organisers of Thursday evening’s “Welcome to Hell” protest march accuse German police of having knowingly risked escalating the volatile situation in the city by applying undue force against peaceful marchers.

Andreas Beuth, a lawyer who had co-organised the march at a riverside plaza used for Hamburg’s weekly fish market, contradicted police claims members of the march’s “black bloc” had refused to remove their masks on police orders, after which police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

“The escalation was clearly started by the police”, Beuth told a press conference on Friday morning. He said many protesters had started to lower their scarves when the police began to pile indiscriminately into the back of the march, thus breaking up what could have otherwise remained a peaceful demonstration.

Christoph Kleine, one of the organisers of Saturday’s G20 Not Welcome march, said police had “risked the loss of human life” by aiming water throwers at people standing on bridges and rooftops.

Protest organisers said three participants of the march had been seriously injured and one person remained in a critical condition, while several others had sustained lighter injuries during the skirmishes. Another organiser said that 14 people had had to be taken to hospital.

A number of journalists working for leftwing German newspapers reported on Friday that their press accreditation had been withdrawn from them without an explanation.

You can read Philip’s full story on the day’s protests here.


Trump and Putin hold meeting

Donald Trump’s first meeting as US president with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is under way.

Reuters reports that the US leader told Putin “It is an honour to be with you” and Putin replied: “I’m delighted to meet you personally, and I hope our meeting will bring results.” Phone conversations were “never enough”, he added.

Trump refused to answer a shouted question about Russian meddling in the US presidential election, but told Putin: “We look forward to a lot of positive things happening for Russia and the US.”

The encounter is being closely watched: the two men disagree strongly on foreign policy areas including Syria, Ukraine and North Korea and Trump on Thursday accused Russia of acting as a destabilising force.

US intelligence officials have also repeatedly said Putin directed a major hacking operation to tip the November 2016 presidential election Trump’s way, something Trump has been reluctant to directly acknowledge.

Their first sit-down meeting is expected to last for about 30 minutes.


South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has said he is in favour of dialogue with North Korea despite the “nuclear provocation” of its test launch this week of what Pyongyang said was a nuclear-capable intercontinental missile, Reuters reports.

Speaking after a meeting with Vladimir Putin, Moon also said he saw a role for Putin in helping de-escalate the crisis on the Korean peninsula. Putin warned all parties involved against losing self-control, urging a “pragmatic, accurate” approach to its missile programme.


Here is some more seriously scary video footage of masked, black-clad protesters, shot this time from inside a Hamburg bus on the Elbchaussee and posted by the city public transport authority:


Die Welt reports that police have arrested leftwing extremists from France, the Netherlands and Switzerland during the protests in Hamburg, while other foreign militants travelling to the port city by train and plane have been turned back at the border.

The paper said police reinforcements had been sent to Hamburg from around the country, including 200 officers from Baden-Württemberg, more than 200 from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and 300 from Berlin.

City police chief Ralf Martin Meyer told reporters that tight security around the conference area had caused protesters to fan out around Hamburg, forcing police to request 900-1,000 further officers as reinforcements.

“We are focusing on securing corridors to make sure that the path for (leaders’) convoys is clear,” Meyer said.


The leaders’ partners’ programme for the day has been amended because of ongoing protests around the city, German media report.

Hosted by Angela Merkel’s husband Joachim Sauer, the programme kicked off with a boat trip around Hamburg harbour that the US first lady, Melania Trump, had to skip because she was prevented by demonstrators from leaving her guesthouse.

This afternoon’s planned visit to a climate research centre has been scrapped and replaced with a presentation by climate scientists at a luxury Hamburg hotel.


Trump and Peña Nieto meet

Donald Trump and the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, have met at the G20 in Hamburg in their first face-to-face encounter since Trump became president.

“It’s great to be with my friend the president of Mexico,” the US leader said. Peña Nieto said he hoped to continue a “flowing dialogue” with his US counterpart.

The Mexican leader had planned an early visit to Trump’s White House but cancelled over Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for the border wall he promised during his election campaign to deter illegal Mexican immigration.

Trump has since repeatedly insisted the wall will get built, and said on Friday that he “absolutely” wants Mexico to pay for it. Peña Nieto insists Mexico will not.


Official summit photo released

Here’s the official summit photograph, with Angela Merkel in the front row long with Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Emmanuel Macron and Trump. Theresa May is in the second row.

G20 photo

1) French President Emmanuel Macron 2) US President Donald Trump 3) Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo 4) Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto 5) South African President Jacob Zuma 6) Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri 7) German chancellor Angela Merkel 8) Chinese president Xi Jinping 9) Russian President Vladimir Putin 10) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 11) Brazilian President Michel Temer 12) South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in 13) Alpha Condé, president of Guinea 14) Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni 15) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 16) India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi 17) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 18) Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull 19) Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May 20) European council President Donald Tusk 21) European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker 22) UN Secretary-general António Guterres 23) Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg 24) Senegal’s President Macky Sall 25) Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong 26) Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc 27) World Trade Organization (WTO) Director Roberto Azevêdo 28) Tedros Adhanom, DG of the World Health Organization (WHO) 29) Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte 30) International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde 31) International Labour Organization (ILO) Director Guy Ryder 32) Jim Yong Kim, World Bank president of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) 33) Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy 34) Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney 35) Saudi Arabia Minister of State Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf 36) Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Secretary José Ángel Gurría


Following reports that an armoured vehicle from the Bundeswehr – the German army – was seen heading in the direction of Altona, the upmarket Hamburg district where Molotov cocktails have been thrown at police and many cars set alight, the city police have denied calling in military backup.

The police tweet says the force is not receiving military support, which would breach the constitutional limits under which it operates. Der Spiegel reports that the military vehicles were being used by the police with prior agreement to transport necessary crowd control material such as barbed wire.


After a brief break for my lunch, I can reveal what the leaders of the world’s major economies are having for theirs.

The menu, courtesy of Anushka Asthana, is apparently smoked fish, chilled soup and cottage cheese followed by chicken fricassee, crayfish and black rice, with fruit for dessert.


Merkel says millions hope G20 leaders will help solve world’s problems

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has told the G20 summit’s leaders in her official welcome speech that millions of people are hoping that they can make a contribution to solving the world’s problems.

Merkel said she was sure every leader present would make an effort to achieve “good results”, but added that “solutions can only be found if we are ready to compromise”.

Speaking at the start of a working lunch at which the leaders will discuss global growth and trade, Merkel nonetheless said the leaders should not be reluctant to identify and address their differences.

The chancellor’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, tweeted footage of the event:


The diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour has a fuller take on this morning’s press conference by the EU council and commission presidents Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, in which they warned that the bloc would impose counter-measures “within days” if Donald Trump took action to protect the US steel industry:

In one of the most serious warnings of a tit-for-tat response if the US resorts to protectionist measures, Juncker said the EU was “in elevated battle mood”. Targets could include American whiskey exports.

Speaking at the start of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Juncker said: “I don’t want to tell you in detail what we’re doing. But what I would like to tell you is that within a few days – we won’t need two months for that – we could react with counter-measures. I am telling you this in the hope that all of this won’t be necessary. But we are in an elevated battle mood.”

The EU trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, has already said she is “extremely worried” about a US threat to curb steel imports for national security reasons, saying the step could trigger protectionist reactions around the world.

You can read Patrick’s full story here.


The Berlin bureau chief Philip Oltermann’s account of the ongoing protests and violence around the G20 summit in Hamburg this morning will be live shortly. Here is a foretaste:

Masked protesters in black dress used flares to set fire to at least 20 cars and pelted rocks at the windows of banks and smaller stores as they made their way through the Altona district and along the Elbchausse road along the river at around 7.30am on Friday.

Many stores and cafes in the area, including a local Ikea, on Friday morning boarded up their windows in anticipation of further rioting.

Other protest groups marched peacefully through Hamburg’s harbour area and historic centre, where they blocked access routes for delegates and envoys travelling in and out of the Messehalle conference centre where leaders including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel gathered this morning.

Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, was reportedly stopped from attending an event in the G20’s supporting programme by the protests. “Police have not given us security clearance to leave the guesthouse,” Trump’s spokesperson told the German press agency DPA.

The Hamburg police spokesperson Sven Jahn said a group of around 60 masked protesters attacked three police vehicles with molotov cocktails, and that a flare fired at a police helicopter only narrowly missed its target.


The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, Shaun Walker, has been unpacking the pictures of Trump and Putin’s meeting in Hamburg:

The pictures show smiles and chummy tactile contact from Trump, in what could not be a starker contrast to the strained body language of the later meetings between Putin and Barack Obama.

The bilateral conversation this afternoon is likely to be “one of the most scrutinised political sit-downs in years”, Shaun adds, but we don’t know yet whether the pair will make statements or answer questions after their talks.

Realistically, Russian officials know that in the current US climate, any great breakthroughs are unlikely. But many will see merely holding the meeting, if it goes ahead in an atmosphere of bonhomie, as a win for the Kremlin.

Putin has long complained the western media is unfair on Russia, and after Trump raised his complaints about “fake news” in Poland, he may bring it up again in the meeting with Putin. The hawkish former foreign policy official Alexei Pushkov wrote on Twitter ahead of the meeting that Putin and Trump are “brought together by the fact they both became the objects of demonisation” in the press.

The Russian Embassy in London is optimistic, tweeting out a poll it ran in which 62% of respondents said they think there will be “progress” made in the meeting between Trump and Putin.


Guardian political editor Anushka Astana writes:

May has made clear that she will be seeking a trade deal with Japan after Brexit, and is likely to raise the issue in a bilateral meeting with prime minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday.

“We have been promoting the concept of an EU-Japan free trade agreement – we believe that is an important agreement for the European union to sign,” said May about the agreement signed just days ago.

“And as believers in free trade we have been promoting that but we are also talking to the Japanese about what arrangements we can have in place once we’ve left the European Union. These are not mutually exclusive – it is possible for the European Union to have a free trade agreement with Japan and for the United Kingdom to have an agreement with Japan when we leave the EU.”


Midday summary

World leaders are meeting in Hamburg for a potentially difficult G20 summit to address serious disagreements on a number of major issues including climate change, free trade, migration and how to tackle North Korea.

The meeting features a number of potentially awkward individual encounters, including the first face-to-face meeting between US president Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and German Angela Merkel’s encounter with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The north German port city has also been the scene of sometimes violent protests by crowds of anti-globalisation demonstrators, some clad in black and wearing face masks. A large number of cars have been set alight and windows smashed.

Here is a midday summary:

Footage of Trump and Putin encounter

Here are the photographs of the first confirmed meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, taken from the German government’s Facebook page.

It is not clear whether the two men may have met before Trump was elected president; he has previously claimed to have met the Russian leader but subsequently denied it.


German media are reporting that US first lady Melania Trump has been unable to leave her Hamburg residence to take part in the summit’s programme for leaders’ partners because of the presence of demonstrators.

“We have no security clearance from the police to leave the guest house,” a spokeswoman told German news agency DPA.

Other partners, including Brigitte Macron, the wife of France’s president Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May’s husband Philip and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau, are on a sightseeing tour with German chancellor Angela Merkel’s husband, Joachim Sauer.


Guardian political editor Anushka Asthana, who is travelling with Theresa May, writes:

Theresa May is holding bilateral meetings with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, alongside meetings with the leaders of China, India and the US, Downing street have told us.

They stressed that the meetings were with a string of major non-EU leaders, with May likely to want to discuss future trading possibilities. She is planning to raise North Korea, and steel dumping with President Xi this evening, ahead of the gala dinner for the world leaders and their spouses.

“The prime minister would like to see China exercising more influence over north Korea and increased action to reduce overcapacity (in steel),” a senior No 10 official said, adding that further economic cooperation and the question of Hong Kong would also come up.

They said that the meeting with the Turkish leader tomorrow would focus on counterterrorism and the Cyprus talks.

And here is what appears to be footage shot from a car of the Elbchaussee and surrounding streets in Hamburg after the earlier passage of a group of masked and black-clad protesters (see 9.55am):

The user says he has seen many things in Hamburg – but not this:


A Twitter user in Hamburg has posted alarming footage of cars burning in what she says is the upmarket district of Altona:

And of smoke billowing from shopfronts, apparently after protesters have passed:

The Guardian has not been able to verify this footage.


This afternoon’s keenly-awaited meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is certainly the two men’s first encounter as leaders of their respective countries – but is it their first meeting ever?

As the Guardian’s world affairs editor Julian Borger writes, over the past few years Trump has “variously claimed to have either met Putin and ‘got along great’, or to have never met him” at all.

Trump has always been polite about Putin and his admiration for the Russian president is in no doubt. Putin has been more cautious, calling Trump “colourful” – a double-edged compliment in Russian.

Here are some of Trump’s statements about Putin:

  • “I do have a relationship with him” November 2013
  • “When I went to Russia with the Miss Universe pageant, [Putin] contacted me and was so nice” February 2014
  • “I will tell you that I think in terms of leadership [Putin] is getting an A, and our president is not doing so well” September 2015
  • “Yes [we met], a long time ago. We got along great, by the way” October 2015
  • “I never met Putin. I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius … I never met Putin” July 2016

And a couple of Putin’s about Trump:

  • “He is a very colourful and talented man, no doubt about that … he is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it” December 2015
  • “I only said that he was a bright person. Isn’t he bright? He is. I did not say anything else about him” June 2016

Theresa May has told the BBC the G20 leaders will try to persuade Donald Trump to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate change accord. “I believe it is possible. We’re not renegotiating the Paris agreement – that stays,” May said.

“But I want to see the United States looking for ways to rejoin it. I believe the collective message that will be given to President Trump around this table will be the importance of America coming back into that agreement, and I hope we will be able to work to ensure that can happen.”

The two leaders are due to meet for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit later on Friday.

Hamburg police have said a signal flare was fired at one of their helicopters this morning, which only narrowly missed.

The German news agency, DPA, has confirmed that the port city’s police have asked for reinforcements from elsewhere in the country, with “many crimes” being committed at multiplying protests.

The summit itself, meanwhile, has begun without incident.

The Guardian’s Berlin bureau chief, Philip Oltermann, has been speaking to more residents who witnessed last night’s violence:

Waltraut Waidelich, a resident of the Schanzenviertel district, said she had deliberately parked her car in the more upmarket Altona district yesterday, only find her vehicle surrounded by burnt-out cars this morning.

The 60-year-old said she felt some of the violent protests where undermining more constructive protests and alternative conferences taking place in Hamburg this weekend: “At the alternative summit, I saw a lot of highly competent people looking constructively at ways in which we can transform the economy along more social and ecological lines.”

Some degree of protest and disagreement was normal, she said: “We have to remind politicians visiting our city that they have to work harder. But I prefer creative forms of protests, and I am not sure what torching normal people’s cars is meant to achieve. There were a lot of young men on the streets who were mainly out to play cops and robbers with the police. Violence is not my way.”

Hamburg police ask for reinforcements – Der Spiegel

Amid reports of widespread rioting and car-burning in the Hamburg district of Altona and elsewhere in the city, Der Spiegel reports that Hamburg police have asked for reinforcements from elsewhere in the country.

“We have asked nationwide whether forces are free, and that is being examined,” a police source told the magazine, confirming that a total of around 15,000 policemen are already on duty around the G20 summit .

Der Spiegel cited an internal police message calling on “all available forces” to deal with a situation that risked becoming a “danger to life and limb”.

Vladimir Putin has said Russia will press other G20 nations to pool their efforts more closely in the fight against terrorism.

Speaking after a meeting of the so-called BRICS nations, the Russian president said Moscow would issue a call to “jointly neutralise political, economic, social and ideological conditions allowing the expansion of terrorism.”

He added: “No nation can deal with this evil on its own and offer a reliable protection to its citizens.” Putin is expected to raise the need for closer anti-terror cooperation at his meeting with US leader Donald Trump later.

Donald Trump has been tweeting again. Besides his ongoing war with the media, it’s not immediately clear what specifically prompted this intervention:

The US president has a busy day of potentially awkward meetings ahead, including a keenly-awaited first encounter with the Russian president:

The two leaders shook hands for the first on Friday morning as they arrived for the summit, the Kremlin has said. “They shook hands and said they will meet separately and see each other soon,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.


Brics call for greater voice, climate cooperation

Leaders of the so-called Brics nations – China, India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa – have met on the sidelines of the G20-summit and calling for a more open global economy, Associated Press reports.

The countries’ leaders stressed the need to increase “the voice and representation” of emerging markets and developing countries in global economic and financial institutions, and called for a “rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke out against global trade restrictions, saying financial sanctions under political pretexts hurt mutual confidence and damaged the global economy – an apparent reference to western sanctions against Russia.

The Brics leaders also urged the international community to work together to implement the Paris climate agreement, from which Donald Trump announced last month the US was withdrawing.


Merkel is greeting her guests in Hamburg …

German hancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron.
Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron. Photograph: Reuters
Merkel welcomes the president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Merkel welcomes the president of the European commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA
Merkel and Vladimir Putin.
Merkel and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA
Merkel welcomes Theresa May.
Merkel welcomes the British prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Merkel with Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau.
Merkel with Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau. Photograph: Bernd Von Jutrczenka/AP
Merkel and the US president, Donald Trump.
Merkel and the US president Donald Trump. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images
Merkel and Donald Trump, the US president.
Trump exits the stage raising a clenched fist. Photograph: Lukas Barth/EPA
Merkel with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Merkel with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
Merkel with Saudi Arabia’s finance minister Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf.
Merkel with Saudi Arabia’s finance minister Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf. Photograph: Friedemann Vogel/EPA


Hamburg police have said said in a statement 111 police officers have been injured in the protests so far and 44 people arrested. There is no clear picture of how many demonstrators have been injured.

Police have also reminded bystanders to keep the city’s thoroughfares free where possible and not put themselves in unnecessary danger:


Theresa May at summit

Guardian political editor Anushka Asthana is travelling to the summit with prime minister Theresa May. She sends this:

On counterterrorism, the prime minister spoke on the plane over about how her priority would be stemming access to funding for terror groups.

Asked about pressure from opposition leaders to question Saudi Arabia about its role in financing, she said: “I sit down with Saudi Arabia and others and talk about terrorist financing. But what I’m doing here at the G20 is raising the need for us to work collectively internationally to deal with terrorist financing.”

That sounds like the prime minister is not likely to be raising any direct questions with the Saudi representative – and despite heavy pressure, the government still has not published the home office report into this issue.

Pushed on climate change, after the UK did not sign up to a letter with the leaders of France, Germany and Italy expressing their disappointment at Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement, May said she was disappointed.

“I hope they will be able to find a way to come back into the Paris agreement,” she said. “I believe it is possible. We are not renegotiating the Paris agreement. That stays,” she added – firming up her language on this point.

On domestic matters, she said the election had not ended up as she hoped but: “There’s two ways the government can react to that. We can be very timid and sit back or we can be bold and that’s what we are going to be.”

And on intimidation of candidates raised by a number of Tory MPs, including Sarah Wollaston in an interview with the Guardian, she said: “There can be no place in our democracy for behaviour like that. I’m determined to do something about it. I’m determined to stamp it out.”


The Guardian’s Jennifer Rankin was following the press conference earlier by EU council and commission presidents Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker and adds this:

After Italy called on the rest of Europe for help in managing the large numbers of people arriving in boats from north Africa, Tusk said migration was one of the EU’s top priorities for the summit.

“Innocent lives are being lost,” said Tusk. “So far this year, more than 2000 people have died at sea and the number of people dying in the desert is even higher. We need more efforts at the international level to break the smugglers’ business model.”

He added that he would propose to all G20 leaders pursuing “targeted UN sanctions against smugglers. By this I mean asset freezes and travel bans, it is the very minimum that can be done at global level. If we do not get it, it will be a sad proof of the hypocrisy of G20 leaders, but I still hope we will succeed.”

Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, also gave his first reaction to Donald Trump’s speech in Warsaw, where the US president said for the first time he stood by the Nato common defence pact.

The EU leader said he had heard some “surprisingly promising words from the American president” on transatlantic co-operation and readiness to protect the west.

“We have been waiting for a long time to hear these words from President Trump, but the real question is whether it was a one-time incident or a long term policy.”

A video has been posted to YouTube showing black-clad demonstrators, some masked and carrying flares, marauding down a Hamburg street said to be the Elbchaussee.

The film, apparently shot from an upper floor window, shows some of the demonstrators setting cars alight and smashing windows:

Video showing protestors smashing windows and setting cars ablaze in Hamburg on Friday

Philip Oltermann has been out and about surveying the remains of last night’s violent anti-globalisation and anti-capitalism protests in Hamburg:

Some of the more aggressive protesters moved into the wealthier districts of Hamburg after the march ended around midnight. Windows of banks on a shopping street in the Othmarschen district were either smashed up or sprayed with “No G20” slogans this morning.

On the Elbchaussee, a picturesque road along the river dotted with villas, there were at least nine burnt-out cars and charred remains of melted plastic on the tarmac.

A burnt-out car following riots at the G20 summit in Hamburg
A burnt-out car following riots at the G20 summit in Hamburg Photograph: Philip Oltermann for the Guardian

Ariane Striemeier-Gellsen, the owner of a burnt-out Saab, said she had just got her children to get ready for school when around 30 masked protesters starting throwing bottles and Molotov cocktails on the street outside, at shortly before 8 am.

“The car’s insured, but it has a nostalgic value”, she said. “If it had survived another year it would have been vintage”. She said it had taken fire services 45 minutes to arrive on the scene.


Reports that Donald Trump has had trouble finding a hotel room in Hamburg because his team waited too long to book seem to be without foundation.

In a report picked up by several international media, the local Hamburger Abendblatt said the US government wanted to book Trump into the Four Seasons hotel but it – and every other luxury hotel in Hamburg – was full.

The Guardian’s Kate Connolly says:

Speculation about this “has been rife for months, with varying rumours as to why he hadn’t apparently found hotel accommodation in Hamburg – everything from security concerns to the hotel chains turning him down.

There was even speculation he’d stay at the Adlon in Berlin, where Xi Jingping has been put up this week, because it was easier to safeguard him there, but that also appeared to be a flimsy rumour.

Philip Oltermann says the reports are simply wrong: “The senate here offered him their residence, so he hasn’t been looking recently.”

EU warns Trump against protectionism

The presidents of the European council and commission, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, have used a joint press conference at the summit to warn that Europe will retaliate if US president Donald Trump starts a possible trade war by imposing punitive tariffs on steel imports, as he is reportedly considering:

A day after the EU concluded a major free trade agreement with Japan, Juncker added that protectionsm was “not the way forward”, his spokeswoman tweeted:


Dozens of protesters have attempted to block cars from accessing the summit venue, Hamburg’s trade fair and congress centre, the Associated Press reports, but were quickly cleared by police.

Demonstrators blocked several intersections and so-called transfer corridors – roads designated to help delegations move between meetings.

Further away in the city’s Altona district, police said an operation was underway against “violent individuals” who threw petrol bombs and set fire to patrol cars near a police station, Agence France-Presse reports.

AP also reports police have used water cannon to clear a blockade by protesters on the banks of the Outer Alster lake, some distance from congress centre, after they repeatedly told a group of protesters to clear the road.


The Guardian’s diplomatic editor takes a closer look at what can be expected form the first face-to-face meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, scheduled for 3.45pm CET:

The possibility that a 30 minute meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, interrupted by breaks for translation, is going to solve the Syrian, North Korean and Ukraine crises are at the lower end of zero.

Even if the meeting over-ran until the weekend after next that would still be a challenge.

Both leaders relish surprise, so it is possible one or other will spring an unexpected offer, but otherwise they are going to pick the subjects to discuss, and try to find areas of common ground on which their officials can then progress.

Putin most wants to know Trump’s Syria strategy. Unfortunately, so do most of the Republican party. Trump’s efforts to devise a strategy have emerged looking very similar to Barack Obama’s and been sent back for a rework.

The two leaders are united on driving out Islamic State, but the US appears determined to leave the areas liberated by the Kurdish-led Syrian Defence Forces under the control of the SDF, rather than hand them over to Bashar al-Assad and his allies.

Putin will want to know if Trump still believes in a unified Syrian state, and how much he objects to Assad remaining in office. Putin would also like US agreement to a no fly zone in southern Syria and clearer warnings if the US intends to strike Assad’s air force.

Trump is so unpredictable on Syria, it is likely the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, will also be taking notes.

On Ukraine, the Kiev government has been reassured that Trump is not going to backslide on sanctions, but the crisis has frozen and few have any ideas how to revive the Minsk peace process.

Trump will also want an explanation on why Russia does not believe North Korea used an ICBM this week – the unanimous view of the US scientific community.

US Democrats will want to know if he raised Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Trump is reluctant to do so, and Putin is a specialist in the implausible denial. Trump’s dilemma is simple: the more he protests Russian interference, the more he delegitimises his own mandate.


Donald Trump is up and about, if his Twitter account is anything to go by.

The US president had this to say about his visit to Warsaw yesterday, where before heading to Hamburg he delivered a highly nationalist speech saying the survival of the west was at risk from hostile forces ranging from Islamic terrorism to Russia, statism and secularism:

Once in Germany, he met the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the leaders of Japan and South Korea on Thursday evening:


Protests and demonstrations

No designated protest marches are planned for today, but lots of actions and stunts are scheduled around Hamburg, Philip Oltermann reports, and there are reports of some demonstrators being kettled and police using water cannon already this morning.

Merkel was born in Hamburg and reportedly chose the city as the venue for this summit to send a message of openness.

But the Hamburg police chief, Ralf Martin Meyer, has expressed concerns the city would see “not just sit-in protests but massive assaults” as anarchists from Scandinavia, Switzerland and Italy join up with local activists in a city with a long tradition of left-wing protest and riots.

The Hamburg congress centre, where the summit is being held, is only a short distance from one of Germany’s most potent symbols of left-wing, anti-capitalist resistance: a former theatre called the “Rote Flora”.

As leaders were arriving on Thursday, riot police were firing water cannon and pepper spray at a group of about a thousand masked and black-clad protesters who hurled bottles on the fringes of a “Welcome to Hell” demonstration.

More than 100,000 demonstrators are expected to join a series of major protest marches on Saturday.


Climate change was meant to have been one of the top priorities of this G20 , but the election of Donald Trump and his subsequent decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris accord changed all that.

No one now expects any consensus to emerge on the issue; Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has already said it was “obvious” there was no agreement on the question and it would be “dishonest to gloss it over”.

Indeed, writes Philip Oltermann in Hamburg, Trump and Vladimir Putin could spend as little as 15 minutes discussing climate change with the other G20 leaders if the two leaders’ schedules for Friday’s first day of the summit are to be believed.

The White House’s schedule states that Trump will meet Putin for their first bilateral at 3.45 CET – a quarter of an hour after the start of a G20 working session on climate change and energy issues. Russian news agency Interfax reported that Putin and Trump would meet at 4pm.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel said the two leaders could be forced to skip the working session on climate change altogether.

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s coverage of the G20 summit in Hamburg, where the leaders of the world’s major economies are meeting for what looks set to be one of the most fractious gatherings in years.

The first face-to-face meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at 3.45pm CET has grabbed the headlines. But with multiple major disagreements to address in a period of real global uncertainty there are many reasons why the two-day summit in the northern German port city could prove volatile both inside and – with police and protestors already clashing – outside the venue.

Issues and leaders to watch include:

  • North Korea’s first successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. US president Donald Trump will seek to persuade his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to exert more pressure.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted global migration and climate change to top the summit agenda and has vowed to strongly defend the 2015 Paris climate accord with EU allies after Trump pulled the US out last month.
  • Trump also faces clashes, particularly with Germany and China, over his protectionist “buy American, hire American” agenda. He is reportedly weighing punitive 20% tariffs on steel imports.
  • Trump’s encounter with Putin will be closely watched: the pair disagree on foreign policy from Syria to Ukraine and North Korea, Trump on Thursday accused Russia of acting as a destabilising force, and US intelligence officials’ have repeatedly said Putin directed a major hacking operation to tip the presidential election Trump’s way.
  • Trump’s talks with Xi will also be critical; the two are at odds over policy towards North Korea, trade, arms sales and territorial waters.
  • Merkel’s meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also likely to be a frosty affair, with relations between Berlin and Ankara badly strained by rights abuses in the wake of Turkey’s failed coup last year.

And the summit takes place against a backdrop of mass street protests by radical, hard left and anti-globalisation activists, including up to 8,000 potentially violent extremists. Some 20,000 police are on duty and rallies have been banned in a large area of the city, which has a long history of violent protest.

Police used water canon and pepper spray on Thursday night as up to 12,000 demonstrators, some wearing masks, set off on a “Welcome to Hell” march. Cars were set alight, bottles and smoke bombs thrown, and police said 74 officers were wounded, most with minor injuries.


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G20: Putin denies US election interference in meeting with Trump, officials say – as it happened | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).