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US challenging rules-based international order: EU president

The European Union president, Donald Tusk, has expressed worries that US President Donald Trump is in fact threatening the rules-based international order established in the wake of the Cold War by his attempts to break or renegotiate a number of international agreements.

“It is evident that the American president and the rest of the group continue to disagree on trade, climate change and the Iran nuclear deal,” Tusk said at a press conference ahead of the 44th G7 summit in the Canadian town of La Malbaie, north of Quebec, on Friday.

In June last year, Trump announced that he would pull his country out of the 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, known as the Paris Agreement, characterizing the move as “a reassertion of American sovereignty”, drawing at the time rebuke from Democrats at home and world leaders who had pressed him not to abandon the 197-nation accord.

The American leader, on May 8, also walked away from the landmark nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.

He further vowed to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic. His controversial decision faced criticism from the EU and the other signatories of the historic deal.

Furthermore, Trump decided in March to restrict the import of metals from the EU, imposing 25-percent tariffs on steel and 15-percent tariffs on aluminum. The move infuriated the bloc, prompting it to take counter-measures by preparing a hit-list for tariffs targeting typical American products, including blue jeans, motorbikes and whiskey.

“What worries me most, however, is the fact that the rules-based international order is being challenged, quite surprisingly not by the usual suspects but by its main architect and guarantor, the US,” Tusk further said at the presser.

The G7 summit, which groups Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany, is slated to be held on June 8-9. The G7 nations represent more than 60 percent of global net worth.

In 2014, after the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea joined Russia after a referendum, Russia was suspended from the group, at the time called G8, because of its “annexation” of Crimea. Moscow, however, said then that it had been the Crimeans’ will displayed in the plebiscite, in which 96.8 percent of participants voted in favor of the move, to become part of the Russian Federation, and not an occupation or a forced annexation as the West claims to be.

Shortly before departing for Canada, Trump, however, said that Russia should be readmitted to the group. His remarks shocked other G7 nations, prompting them to direct a barrage of criticism toward him.

“Let’s leave the G7 as it is,” said Tusk, adding that they could not force the White House to change its mind.

“At the same time we will not stop trying to convince our American friends and President Trump that undermining this order makes no sense at all, because it would only play into the hands of those who seek a new post-West order where liberal democracy and fundamental freedoms would cease to exist,” the EU president further said.