Putin And trumP AgrEE on Po­lit­i­CAl So­lu­tion for SyriA in ‘briEf mEEt­ing’

Trump said, Putin told him again that he did not med­dle in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion last year.

The Sunday Guardian - - World - DANANG, VIET­NAM REUTERS

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin met briefly on the side­lines of a sum­mit of Asi­aPa­cific lead­ers in Viet­nam on Satur­day and agreed on the need for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to Syria’s con­flict.

A joint state­ment on Syria fol­lowed their first meet­ing since July at a time that US-Rus­sia re­la­tions have been bat­tered and Trump is haunted by al­le­ga­tions that Putin med­dled in last year’s elec­tion that brought him to the White House.

Their state­ment called for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to Syria’s con­flict and said they would con­tinue joint ef­forts to fight Is­lamic State. Trump said it would save “tremen­dous num­bers of lives”.

“We did it very quickly,” Trump told re­porters aboard Air Force One af­ter leav­ing the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) sum­mit in the re­sort of Danang for Hanoi, Viet­nam’s cap­i­tal. “We seem to have a very good feel­ing for each other, a good re­la­tion­ship con­sid­er­ing we don’t know each other well.”

Talk­ing af­ter their meet­ing, Putin de­scribed Trump as “a well-man­nered per­son and com­fort­able to deal with”.

“We know each other little, but the US pres­i­dent is highly civil in his be­hav­ior, friendly. We have a nor­mal di­a­logue but un­for­tu­nately little time,” he said.

Sched­ul­ing and un­spec­i­fied pro­to­col is­sues were to blame for the fact that a mooted sitdown meet­ing did not hap­pen in Danang, he said. Trump said they had two or three very short con­ver­sa­tions.

The Krem­lin had sought a one-on-one meet­ing ahead of the sum­mit. Al­though the White House had said no of­fi­cial meet­ing was planned, it had also said it was pos­si­ble they would bump into each other.

The sight of Trump sit­ting down with Putin in pub­lic also re­vives the is­sue of Rus­sian med­dling in last year’s US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Trump said Putin had told him again that he hadn’t med­dled in the elec­tion.

“I re­ally be­lieve that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said of the ac­cu­sa­tions. “I think he’s very in­sulted by it, which is not a good thing for our coun­try.”

North Korea,” he added. “If Rus­sia helped us in ad­di­tion to China that prob­lem would go away a lot faster.”

The Krem­lin said the state- ment on Syria was co­or­di­nated by Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov and US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son es­pe­cially for the meet­ing in Danang.

They con­firmed their com­mit­ment to Syria’s sovereignty, in­de­pen­dence and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and called on all par­ties to the Syr­ian con­flict to take an ac­tive part in the Geneva po­lit­i­cal process, it said.


Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump talk dur­ing the fam­ily photo ses­sion at the APEC Sum­mit in Danang, Viet­nam on Satur­day.

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