Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and fellow G7 leaders failed in a last-ditch effort to persuade Donald Trump to endorse the landmark Paris climate accord, but succeeded in getting the U.S. President to back a pledge to fight protectionism.
The two-day summit of the world's seven richest democracies pitted the President against Mr. Trudeau and the leaders of Germany, France, Japan, Britain and Italy on a range of issues from climate change to migration and protectionism. Mr. Trump said he would not yet make a decision about whether the U.S. would remain in the environmental accord, or withdraw from it.
"The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters at the end of the summit on Saturday. "Here we have a situation of six against one, meaning there is still no sign of whether the U.S. will remain in the Paris accord or not."
Mr. Trudeau was more diplomatic, but could not hide his disappointment in the leaders' failure to move Mr. Trump during two days of talks held at a Sicilian seaside tourist town.
A U.S. withdrawal from the 195-nation Paris accord threatens to undermine international efforts to combat global warming. The U.S. is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China.
"I am not going to lecture another country on what they should do. Nor would I have my positions determined by anyone outside Canada," Mr. Trudeau told a news conference where he announced Canada will play host to next year's G7 at the Le Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie, Que. "We respect the President's choice to reflect further on [his] engagement on climate change and the Paris accord."
France's new President, Emmanuel Macron, said he told Mr. Trump that it was "indispensable for the reputation of the United States and for the Americans themselves that the Americans remain committed" to the 2015 climate agreement.
Mr. Trump, who once called climate change a hoax, promised to make a quick decision on whether to exit the accord, signed by former president Barack Obama. He had campaigned to withdraw from the treaty.
"I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!" he said in a tweet after he left the summit to return to Washington.
White House adviser Gary Cohn told reporters the President was "very appreciative of all the frank discussions" and he formed "really strong bonds" with the leaders.
"They understand the President's only been in office for a certain period of time, and they respect that," Mr. Cohn said. "They understand where we are; we understand where they are."
All six leaders said in the final communiqué that they would move ahead and implement the Paris treaty to significantly curb greenhouse gases.
Mr. Trudeau had privately urged the President to stay in the accord, arguing that advances in green technology would create millions of new jobs in America.
"You cannot build a strong economic future for your children unless you are protective and mindful of the environment," Mr. Trudeau later told reporters.
The G7 leaders managed to persuade Mr. Trump to accept language in the final communiqué pledging to "fight protectionism, while standing firm against all unfair trade practices."
A Canadian official said Mr. Trudeau had played a role in helping to get the U.S. leader to soften his protectionist stand. During the election campaign, Mr. Trump threatened to impose unilateral tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports and to rip up the North American free-trade agreement.
The U.S. President was also unwilling to help deal with Europe's migration crisis through greater development aid to Africa. Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni had called for massive investment to stem the flow of refugees across the Mediterranean Sea.
At a session with African leaders, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger urged the G7 to take urgent actions to honour their pledges to combat poverty in Africa.
"Be it Niger, a transit nation, or the countries of origin, it is only through development that we will prevent illegal migration," Mr. Issoufou said.
Mr. Trudeau, who has redirected Canadian aid to Africa, was supportive of the call to action but Mr. Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May wanted to focus on security of borders and threats of terrorism.
"We talked about the challenge of drought, of terrorism, of economic opportunity lacking [for]young people in Africa … so they are not driven to desperate measures to try to improve their lives," Mr. Trudeau said.
The G7's final communiqué vowed to slap extra sanctions on Russia if it fails to honour its pledges to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and noted the "grave nature" of North Korean missile tests.
Aside from climate change, the terrorist bombings in Manchester and Egypt occupied much of the leaders' time. On Friday, they signed a statement to improve security co-operation and urged internet companies to do more to identify and remove extremist material.