BIARRITZ, France - A global summit between President Donald Trump and other leaders ended here without significant progress on any of the world's most pressing issues, laying bare the widening gulf between the United States and other nations as they struggle to address issues like trade and climate change.
French President Emmanuel Macron said leaders at the Group of Seven summit agreed to endorse just a one-page document of issues and then to continue working on a range of other challenges that have proved elusive, including trade imbalances, climate change, and Iran, among other things.
"There was a lot of nervousness at the outset," Macron said. He said that the three days of talks here had a "lot of tension and we had a lot of conflicts" but he considered it a success that they were even able to produce a one-page document.
Trump seemed pleased with the outcome.
"This was a very special, very unified two-and-a-half days," Trump said.
The final day was set to be pivotal for the leaders, as they sought to cap a summit marked more by whiplash, mixed signals and surprises than by concrete results. They were unable to convince Trump to quickly resolve his trade fight with China, but instead urged him to wrap the fight up as quickly as possible.
"What's bad for the world economy is uncertainty and the quicker an agreement is arrived at, the quicker uncertainty will dissipate," Macron said.
This will likely mark only the second time since 1975 that the G-7 summit did not end with a substantive joint statement, known as a communique. The document is meant to reflect shared values between some of the world's largest countries, but Trump has pulled the U.S. back from global consensus on trade, climate change, and Iran.
Trump has said that these past agreements are too watered down and disadvantage the United States.
At least one joint commitment was made, a triumph for French President Emannuel Macron, who has sought to demonstrate concrete results from the meeting. It was relatively modest: a $20 million fund to be made available immediately to Amazon countries to combat forest fires and to launch a long-term initiative to protect the rainforest.
Macron has made the wildfires in Brazil a major focus of the summit. The pledge came at a meeting on climate that Trump skipped. He sent lower-level aides, Macron said. Climate change has been one of the biggest areas of disagreement between Europe and the White House.
Trump said Monday, Aug. 26, that the meeting had been a success.
"We've had a lot of fake news where they're saying, 'Oh there's no unity, there's no unity.' There's total unity. I'm talking about all the seven countries, and it's been really good," Trump said Monday alongside a bemused German Chancellor Angela Merkel before the two met for talks.
"We've had great unity even with Iran, a lot of progress made in Iran," Trump said. "The biggest part of the conclusion, they can't have nuclear weapons."
Illustrating the divide between Trump and the other leaders meeting in the resort town, the French all-but-abandoned efforts to craft a joint statement at the end of the summit, cognizant of how the United States is drifting further away from other nations on a growing number of issues.
Negotiators from each country talked trade and other issues late into the night, but the U.S. delegation blocked any consensus, a senior European official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door discussions. The talks continued on Monday.
In addition to Merkel, Trump met Monday with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He signaled on Monday that trade deals with multiple partners were in motion - although at least one country, Japan, quickly undercut elements of his claims.
"China called," Trump said. "They want to make a deal."
He later said that one of the calls had been as recently as Sunday evening. It wasn't clear how substantial the interaction had been.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was "not aware" of any weekend phone call.
And he also sought to boost what he called a trade deal "in principle" with Japan that he announced the previous day along side Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying that it would boost automobile manufacturing in the United States.
Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Takeshi Osuga said Monday that talks were still at a more preliminary stage.
Trump also said that his position on trade with Europe was essentially unchanged after the days of talks.
"The European Union, and I've said this openly, I say with respect, I think they're as tough as China," he said.
The summit's careful choreography was punctuated on Sunday by a surprise: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made an unannounced visit to Biarritz that dominated news coverage on a day the United States had sought to focus the gathering on the economy.
Trump said that Macron had asked him over a Saturday lunch whether it would be okay to invite Zarif the following day.
Macron "spoke to me, he asked me. I said, 'If you want to do that that's okay.' I don't consider that disrespectful at all, especially when he asked me for approval," Trump said Monday.
"I think it's too soon to meet, I didn't want to meet," Trump said. But he said "it's truly going to be time to meet with Iran" soon.
Trump himself has been happy to depart from his aides' planned focus on the global economy. He spent much of Sunday evening retweeting several conspiracy theories alleging corruption and malfeasance at the FBI.
In one post related to the G-7, the president amplified the commentary of a libertarian Canadian media personality who accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of "assuming a submissive position" in meetings with Trump despite "trash-talking" him in Canada.
"No, we actually had a very good and productive meeting. Nice!" Trump tweeted, in a post that also served to broadcast the original tweet - with a picture a cross-legged Trudeau sitting next to a stern-looking Trump - to the president's 63 million followers.
After the G-7 last year in Canada, Trump dramatically withdrew his support for a joint communique after watching Trudeau give a news conference in which he spoke negatively about U.S. tariffs.
Trump tweeted at the time that Trudeau "acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings" and then gave a combative news conference "after I left."
Trump said Monday that next year's summit, which will be hosted by the United States, will most likely be hosted at Trump's Doral resort in Miami.
"It's right next to the airport, a few minutes away. People are really liking it," Trump said alongside Merkel, offering what sounded at times like a real estate pitch for a location that he said had buildings with "50 to 70 units" that were perfect for a conference.
Hosting the summit will give Trump significant control over the agenda, the guest list and the strategy of the meeting.
Macron abandoned the idea of trying to convince Trump to sign on to a joint communique this year, deeming the effort "pointless." The symbolic statements are typically issued at the end of global summits, but U.S. officials have resisted in recent years.
French officials realized well in advance that the Trump administration had no interest in agreeing to a joint statement, and they began dialing back expectations.
The move reflects Trump administration's belief that it does not need to coordinate its policies with other leaders, particularly on issues that the president feels strongly about, such as trade. But it also could make it more difficult for leaders to address problems as they arise because they aren't starting from the same level of understanding.
It also shows how other world leaders are growing more comfortable separating themselves from the United States on policy issues, said Brian Klass, who teaches global politics at University College London.
"People are making nice publicly," he said. "But I think privately, most in the G-7 are panicking about what Trump's doing with the trade war, they are panicking about his increasingly erratic behavior and wondering whether they can continue to behave as if everything is business as usual."
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This article was written by Toluse Olorunnipa, Michael Birnbaum and Damien Paletta, reporters for The Washington Post.
The Washington Post's Anna Fifield in Beijing contributed to this report.