Emmanuel Macron contradicted Donald Trump Monday morning when he said he did not seek the U.S. president’s permission before inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the G7 summit.
When asked if he sought Trump’s permission to invite Zarif to the summit in Biarritz, France, the French president said Trump was ‘informed’ of the move and was given updates about the situation ‘at each minute.’
Several French officials have also insisted that Trump was given advance warning that Zarif would be making a stop at the summit.
Trump, however, said that Macron didn’t just ‘inform’ him of the visit, but had actually asked for his ‘approval’ to extend the invitation. He also insisted that he was not caught off guard by the visit.
‘He asked me,’ Trump said earlier Monday morning. ‘I don’t consider that disrespectful at all, especially when he asked me for approval.’
Macron said he was attempting to broker a meeting between Zarif and his U.S. counterparts, but insisted he was not speaking on behalf of any other nations than France.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday he did not seek Trump’s permission before inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif to make an impromptu stop at the G7 summit
During a joint press conference, Macron said he ‘informed’ Trump of the situation, and insisted he invited Zarif as a ‘friend’
The French leaders said he made a technical proposal to Iran earlier this summer, and had just received a response from Zarif Friday morning. In turn, he decided to invite the Iranian foreign minister to the location of the Group of Seven summit so he could meet with France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
‘After the discussion we had at the G7 dinner on Saturday evening,’ Macron said motioning to Trump during their joint press conference Monday, ‘I thought that it was very clear about where we can go together.’
In an attempt to clear up confusion over Zarif’s presence at the summit this weekend, Macron explained he extended the invitation to Zatif as a ‘friend.’
The Group of Seven is an intergovernmental economic organization that consists of the seven largest economies in the world. It includes the U.S., U.K., Japan, Germany, Italy, Canada and France.
Leaders from each of the countries gathered this weekend in France, which was the host of the 45th summit.
Zarif, however, was an unscheduled visitor, but Macron said he was hoping to help organize some sort of meeting between Iran and the U.S.
Macron’s comment contradict Trump, who said earlier in the day that the French leader had asked him for ‘approval’ before inviting Zarif to Biarritz, France
Zarif (left) and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (right) spoke at the summit after Iran responded in Friday to an initiative Macron proposed earlier in the summer. Macron said he is trying to broker a meeting between Zarif and his U.S. counterparts
‘The idea, for me, was… perhaps to have meeting between ministers,’ Macron said. ‘This is a French initiative, but made by a clear information of the U.S. president before.’
Host countries can invite world leaders from anywhere they want, and Trump said he might invite Russian President Vladmir Putin to the G7 summit next year in the U.S.
‘I would certainly invite him,’ Trump told reporters, but conceded that the Russian leader might not want to attend.
Trump has pushed for the G7 to readmit Russia into the group. Between 1997 and 2014, Russia was involved in the organization, which during those years was known as the Group of Eight.
The president has been met with opposition from other world leaders for his calls to readmit Russia into the G7.
Last year, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more colloquially known as the Iran nuclear deal.
The host country of the G7 summit can invite any world leaders they please, and Trump said he would ‘certainly’ invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the summit in the U.S. in 2020
France, together with the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, are still involved in the JCPOA with Iran – and Macron want to help bring the U.S. and Iran together for negotiations regarding sanctions and nuclear development.
The Trump administration has repeatedly expressed its willingness to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Trump said Iran has become a very different country over the last two years, but claims he believes it can get back to how it was at the beginning of his presidency.
‘Things have to be changed,’ Trump said of the JCPOA and U.S. relationship with Iran. ‘And I will tell you, I have very good feelings about it, I think that we’re going to do something. It may not be immediately, but I think ultimately we’re going to do something. As I said, Iran is a very different country than it was two years ago. And we can get that back, and I encourage it.’