Morrison arrives in France for G7 talks

World
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Scott Morrison will try to push countries further on taking action against terrorist and violent extremist material on social media during a series of meetings on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

The prime minister arrived in the French surfing town of Biarritz on Saturday night (early Sunday AEST) for the high-powered international forum.

Australia was invited by French President Emmanuel Macron to the leaders gathering that usually comprises France, Germany, the UK, Italy the US, Canada and Japan.

Mr Morrison is seeking to build on the progress he made at the G20 meeting in Osaka in asking countries to root out violent extremist content from all corners of the internet.

He is expected to discuss the issue on Sunday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hosted the G20 and strongly backed Mr Morrison’s efforts.

How to better work with tech giants to improve their responses when terrorist content is posted on their platforms is also expected to feature when the prime minister meets Angel Gurria, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

And he will raise it during one of the formal G7 sessions he’ll take part in on Monday, on the topic of the digital transformation.

Mr Macron had hoped to have tech companies including Facebook, Google and Snapchat sign a charter for an open, free and safe internet on Friday. However, Reuters reports that was delayed.

The French digital industry minister, Cedric O, said the companies would sign the pledge on Monday, along with the G7 leaders.

Mr Morrison will also hold bilateral meetings with Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera and Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday.

He won’t have a formal meeting with US President Donald Trump in Biarritz but the White House has scheduled an informal talk, known as a “pull-aside”.

The pair dined together in Osaka at the G20 in late June and will do so again at a state banquet at the White House in September.

Mr Morrison is expected to also meet new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and India’s leader Narendra Modi during the summit.

The 2019 talks are likely to encompass a wide agenda, including the global economy, the escalating US-China trade dispute, climate change and the Amazon wildfires, taxes on tech giants, the planned US-UK-Australia operation in the Straits of Hormuz, and the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong.

Mr Macron is seeking to shake up the summit’s format and apart from inviting several new participants, he has declared there will be no joint statement issued at the end and derided “these communiques that no one reads”.

At last year’s summit in Canada, US President Donald Trump left early and spent his plane ride home sending disparaging tweets about the communique he had just signed.

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