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THE LATEST: Obama repeats support for Britain staying in EU

The Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, where the G-7 is being held, sits in front of the Alps Sunday, June 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — 8:45 p.m. (1845 GMT; 2:45 p.m. EDT)

President Barack Obama has reaffirmed his support for Britain staying in the European Union, saying the country’s influence is positive both on the continent and around the world.

Obama’s comments came at the start of a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of the G-7 summit. It’s their first meeting since Cameron’s party pulled off an unexpectedly strong victory in elections last month.

Cameron, under pressure from the right wing UK Independence Party and many in his own Conservative Party, has committed to a referendum on whether to withdraw from the 28-nation bloc. The referendum is planned by the end of 2017.

Obama didn’t explicitly mention the referendum but said he looks forward to Britain “staying a part of the European Union.”


7:35 p.m. (1735 GMT; 1.35 p.m. EDT)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she expects the G-7 leaders to send a “united signal” that sanctions against Russia can only be softened if a February peace accord for eastern Ukraine is implemented.

In an interview with ZDF television at the leaders’ summit, Merkel stressed anew that sanctions are not an end in themselves and they “can be dispensed with when the conditions under which they were introduced are no longer there and the problems are resolved.”

She said that “we have a chance if everyone makes an effort — that is to some extent in Russia’s hands and of course in Ukraine’s.”


7:15 p.m. (1715 GMT; 13:15 p.m. EDT)

Bavaria is well known for its wheat beers, whether alcoholic or not.

President Barack Obama’s visit Sunday to the picturesque Alpine village of Kruen, near the G-7 summit venue, included a taste of local delicacies: a plate of weisswurst, a rack of pretzels and a tall glass of beer. Considering it was still morning in Germany, speculation was that the president chose a non-alcoholic version.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he didn’t know what kind of beer the president had been served, but said he was confident “he did not order a non-alcoholic beer. Even after an overnight flight on a Sunday morning.”


6:35 p.m. (1635 GMT; 12:35 p.m. EDT)

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says pro-Russian rebels’ actions in Ukraine took up a little more than half of President Barack Obama’s private pre-summit meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Earnest said Obama and G-7 summit host Merkel “agreed that preserving the unity of the U.S. and our European allies and partners is a top priority.”

He added: “There was a shared view and a shared hope that we’ll be able to preserve that unity with respect to our sanctions program moving forward.”


4:55 p.m. (1455 GMT; 10:55 a.m. EDT)

With aching muscles, 400 protesters are making their way back down the mountain after failing to breach the security perimeter around the German Alpine hotel where the G-7 leaders are meeting.

Protester Micha Schmid from Bavaria said “we didn’t make it in, but I think we sent a message that the world leaders are hiding from the people.”

Walking through a Bavarian Alpine meadow in full bloom, he added “and this was definitely the most beautiful protest I’ve ever been on.”

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