Two key German government ministers have declined an American invitation to attend a G-7 meeting in Washington, Der Spiegel news magazine quoted German and U.S. government circles as saying on Thursday.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, along with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, were reportedly invited for a G-7 meeting at the U.S. capital on July 29 but called off their attendance.
The request for a ministerial meeting came after Chancellor Angela Merkel canceled her participation in the G-7 summit planned by U.S. President Donald Trump.
While German officials said Merkel's refusal to attend the G-7 summit was primarily based on the worsening coronavirus crisis, European G-7 leaders are reportedly concerned that Trump may simply want to use their visit for an election-year photo opportunity.
With the G-7 summit, Trump wanted to send a sign of "normalization" of the coronavirus situation in his country, as the U.S. president himself wrote on Twitter.
The latest developments come as U.S.-German relations have reached their lowest point since post-World War II, with the Merkel government having repeatedly faced the wrath of Trump over a range of issues, among them defense spending, climate change, the Iran nuclear agreement and Germany 's trade surplus.