U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in southern Germany early Sunday for a G7 summit that is set to be overshadowed by tensions over Greece’s debt crisis and flaring violence in Ukraine.
Before the start of the summit in the Bavarian Alps Obama said that leaders would discuss how to stand up to Russia’s “aggression” in Ukraine as well as threats from extremism and climate change.
“So over the next two days in Schloss Elmau we’re going to discuss our shared future, the global economy that creates jobs and opportunity, maintaining a strong and prosperous European Union, forging new trade partnerships across the Atlantic, standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine, combating threats from violent extremism to climate change,” Obama said in a town near the summit site at Schloss Elmau.
“On all these issues we are very grateful for the partnership and leadership of your chancellor, Angela Merkel,” he added, standing next to the German leader.
Merkel is hoping to secure commitments from her G7 guests to tackle global warming to build momentum in the run-up to a major United Nations climate summit in Paris in December. The German agenda also foresees discussions on global health issues, from Ebola to antibiotics and tropical diseases.
Ahead of the gathering, thousands of anti-G7 protesters marched in the nearby town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturday. There were sporadic clashes with police and several marchers were taken to hospital with injuries, but the violence was minor compared to some previous summits.
The Germans have deployed 17,000 police around the former winter Olympic games venue at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze. Another 2,000 are on stand-by across the border in Austria.
On Monday, the summit is also due to discuss militant threats from groups like ISIS and Boko Haram with the leaders of Nigeria, Tunisia and Iraq, part of an “outreach” group of non-G7 countries.