July 8, 2017 3:32 pm
Updated: July 8, 2017 8:33 pm

G20 summit: 6 things you may have missed

Why does the G20 summit attract so much protest?

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The G20 summit officially wrapped up in Hamburg, Germany Saturday. From violent protests to awkward handshakes, if you missed out on the news stemming from the summit, here are five key takeaways.

Syria ceasefire

ABOVE: Will ceasefire bring calm to war-torn Syria?

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin sat down in a private meeting during the summit. After two hours of discussion, the two leaders agreed on on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria.

For years the two governments have been backing opposing sides in the war. Moscow has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, supporting Syrian forces militarily since 2015. Washington has backed rebels fighting Assad.

READ MORE: U.S., Russia reach ceasefire deal in Syria

The ceasefire deal is the first t U.S.-Russian effort under Trump’s presidency to resolve Syria’s six-year civil war.

First Trump, Putin meeting?


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ABOVE: Putin share warm handshake in 1st meeting of world leaders

Trump and Putin said they met for the first time at the summit. But is this true?

The U.S. president has offered contradictory descriptions regarding his relationship and contact with the Russian leader.

READ MORE: Trump admitted to meeting Putin years ago, but now says G20 was the first time

In 2013, late-night night host David Letterman asked Trump during an interview whether he had a relationship with Russia.

“Well I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians,” Trump said, before being asked whether he’d met Putin personally. “He’s a tough guy. I met him once.”

WATCH: Trump’s wins and losses at first G20 Summit. Ines de La Cuetara reports.

During a May 2014 speech in front of the National Press Club, Trump described having been in Moscow recently, “and I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin, who could not have been nicer.”

By 2016, Trump’s story had changed completely. At a July 2016 press conference, at the height of the general election campaign, Trump denied ever having met the Russian leader.

Putin has also denied meeting Trump before the G20 summit.

Paris Accord complications

ABOVE: Trump’s withdrawal from Paris Accord draws international condemnation

Of the G20 countries that met in Hamburg, the U.S. was the only holdout from a statement reaffirming a commitment to work toward the carbon emission reduction goals in the Paris climate agreement.

The final statement of the Group of 20 summit underlined that the other countries and the European Union supported the Paris climate agreement rejected by Trump. They called the deal to reduce greenhouse gases “irreversible” and vowed to implement it quickly and without exception.

READ MORE: Reality check: Do Trump’s reasons for leaving the Paris climate accord add up?

On Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he harbours the hope of convincing Trump to bring the U.S. back into the Paris climate accord.

Awkward encounters

When you put a group of world leaders in one room, there is bound to be some awkward moments.

READ MORE: World leaders’ awkward encounters, from ‘naughty schoolboy’ Pierre Trudeau to Trump’s handshakes

During a working lunch at the G20, Trump greeted  Macron with a stiff handshake-turned-bro-clasp. The moment was a “handshake rematch” of sorts of their part handshake, part staring contest this past May.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel provided a great eye-roll while engaged in conversation with Putin during the meeting.

In another moment, Macron appeared unsure where to take his place in the photo of the leaders Friday. After entering stage left and making his way to the centre of the group, he maneuvered his way to the far right, next to Trump, hugging and kissing his way to the front row.

Aggressive…and creative…protesters

With any major political event comes widespread protests, however, the G8 and G20 gatherings have been particularly prone to demonstrations over the years. This year’s G20 summit was no exception.

Activists and demonstrators were met with a large contingent of German police to maintain order throughout the summit. While some got aggressive, lighting fires and engaging in standoffs with police, others took a different approach.

READ MORE: Zombie-like protesters march through Hamburg ahead of G20 Summit: In photos

Perhaps the most unique demonstration that took place over the past week was the performance staged by a German performance collective. The group rounded up over 1,000 volunteers, dressed up as zombies and painted themselves grey, and proceeded to march down the streets of Hamburg.

WATCH: Zombies descend on Hamburg, Germany

By dressing up as zombies, the collective aimed to make a statement about political apathy in the world.

Trump announces already-promised humanitarian aid

On Saturday the U.S. announced $639 million in aid for Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.

While David Beasley, the American director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, called the announcement a “truly a life-saving gift,” Trump’s proposed deep cuts to foreign aid of more than 30 per cent have caused concern.

WATCH: Trump prepares for high-stakes meetings at the G20

“We welcome President Trump’s attention to the global humanitarian crisis, but he was announcing aid that Congress approved months ago and that his administration has delayed,” Rev. David Beckmann, president of the Washington-based Christian organization Bread for the World, said in a statement.

The total U.S. humanitarian assistance to the four countries is now more than $1.8 billion this fiscal year, the U.S. Agency for International Development said.

WATCH: Trump praises Poland on NATO spending, pressures other nations to boost funds

The Trump administration’s 2018 spending plan ends a critical program by consolidating it into a broader account that covers all international disaster assistance. Doing so reduces the amount of money the U.S. dedicates to fighting famine to $1.5 billion next year, from $2.6 billion in 2016.

READ MORE: Donald Trump cuts foreign aid as Africa faces ‘largest humanitarian crisis’ in 70 years

Trump officials say the proposed changes will streamline U.S. aid programs, eliminate redundancies and increase efficiency.

With files from the Canadian and Associates Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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