efe-epaBerlin

The German chancellor and French president vowed on Thursday to defend an international climate change agreement at an upcoming G20 summit, in spite of the decision of the United States to withdraw from the pact.

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron made their comments in a joint press statement after a meeting with other European heads of state and government in Berlin, as part of the preparations for next week's G20 meeting to be held in the northern German city of Hamburg.

"We will reaffirm our very strong commitment to the Paris climate change agreement," Macron said.

The president qualified climate change as one of the big challenges to be addressed at the summit, which will bring together the leaders of the world's 20 major economies.

He said Europe would maintain its commitment to the Paris agreement and try to persuade those who had abandoned it to reconsider.

Merkel said Europe needed to stand firm in the fight against climate change, especially after the US decision to pull out of the Paris agreement, as this sends "a very important message to developing countries."

She lamented that US President Donald Trump had decided to take his country out of the climate agreement.

G20 leaders are set to meet on July 7-8 in Hamburg.