Two key German government ministers have declined an American invitation to attend a G7 meeting in Washington, Der Spiegel news magazine quoted German and US government circles as saying on Thursday.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as well as Finance Minister Olaf Scholz were reportedly invited for a G7 meeting in the US capital on July 29 but called off their attendance.

The request for the ministerial meeting came also after Chancellor Angela Merkel cancelled her participation in the G7 summit planned by US President Donald Trump .

While German officials said Merkel’s refusal to attend the G7 summit was primarily based on the worsening coronavirus crisis, European G7 leaders are reportedly concerned that Trump may simply want to use their visit for an election-year photo opportunity.

With the G7 summit, Trump wanted to send a sign of “normalization” of the coronavirus situation in his country, as the US president wrote on Twitter.

The latest developments come as US-German relations have reached a post-World War II low as the Merkel government has 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.

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