President Donald Trump had an unscheduled conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday while the visiting leaders were at a D-Day event in the UK.
Trump and Merkel discussed the civil war in Libya for roughly 10 minutes, the White House told reporters, after they bumped into one another at an event commemorating the invasion.
Germany and the U.S. are seeking to deescalate a civil war in Libya that erupted in April after military general Khalifa Haftar and his supporters levied an attack on the nation’s capital.
Merkel was in the U.S. last week, delivering a graduation speech at Harvard University in Boston that took aim at Trump’s political ideology , but she did not come to Washington to meet with the U.S. president with whom she’s clashed.
She was invited to attend the British D-Day event in Portsmouth celebrating the heroism of allied force soldiers who battled German Nazis, even though her nation was on the opposite of the bloody fight that sucked in nearly every advanced nation. Germany is now a close partner of the countries it once fought against – it is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and contributes to the group’s defense budget.
President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) sat down for an unscheduled talk on Wednesday that the White House said lasted for 10 minutes
The two leaders ran into each other at an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth, Britain
Last week, the liberal leader was in the U.S. to deliver a graduation speech at Harvard University but she did not meet with Trump
Trump was the honorary guest of Britain in advance of the visit and held talks with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May while he was in London. He meets on Thursday with French President Emmannuel Macron in Normandy, after another set of D-Day events at the American cemetery near the incursion site.
A substantive conversation with Merkel was not expected at the event. Reporters were rushed into an impromptu meeting that was smashed in between receptions that Trump was attending for WWII veterans on Wednesday afternoon before a private lunch with program participants that preceded his departure to overnight accommodations in Shannon, Ireland, where he owns a golf course.
Neither leader spoke while U.S. press were in the room. They smiled for cameras and held their tongues until journalists left the room.
The White House said they discussed ‘the current situation in Libya and the deteriorating conditions in West Africa’ in statement it provided journalists later.
‘They agreed to discuss further at the G20,’ the readout of the meeting provided by the White House on Thursday afternoon local time said.
As reporters were led out, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and U.S. National Security advisor John Bolton joined the president, reporters traveling Trump’s entourage said.
No additional information on the leaders’ conversation and how it came about was available on Thursday afternoon. While pull-aside meetings like the one that Trump and Merkel had at not uncommon at gatherings like the one they were attending in Britain, it was unusual that the two heads of state entered into last-minute talks about Libya after Merkel’s trip to the U.S. a week prior didn’t include a stop at the White House.
In her Harvard commencement address, Merkel made the case for a liberal world order that holds alliances and the values they’re built on in the highest esteem.
During her remarks, Merkel criticized Trump's political ideology. 'Democracy is not something we can take for granted. Neither is peace, and neither is prosperity,' Merkel said at the commencement address
She also made reference of Trump's southern border wall in telling graduates to 'tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness'
‘Nothing can be taken for granted. Our individual liberties are not givens. Democracy is not something we can take for granted. Neither is peace, and neither is prosperity,’ she said at one point ‘But if we break down the walls that hem us in, if we step out into the open and have the courage to embrace new beginnings, everything is possible.’
At several turns, the German