Trump, Putin to dis­cuss weapons

Irish Examiner - - World News - Jeff Mason

US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he would dis­cuss sub­stan­tial re­duc­tions to nu­clear weapons when he meets Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Put in but cau­tioned a“rigged witch hunt” in the US was ham­per­ing ef­forts to im­prove re­la­tions.

Trump and Putin, who con­trol the world’s two big­gest nu­clear ar­se­nals, are due to meet on Mon­day in Helsinki, av­enue which evokes mem­o­ries of Cold War show-downs be­tween the Soviet Union and the US.

“The pro­lif­er­a­tion is a tremen­dous, I mean to me, it’s the big­gest prob­lem in the world, nu­clear weapons, big­gest prob­lem in the world,” Trump said along­side Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Theresa May at her Cheque rs coun­try res­i­dence.

“If we can do some­thing to sub­stan­tially re­duce them, I mean, ide­ally get rid of them, maybe that’s a dream, but cer­tainly it’s a sub­ject that I’ll be bring­ing up with him,” Trump said of his up­com­ing meet­ing with Putin.

Trump added the nu­clear ar­se­nals were “also a very ex­pen­sive thing but that’s the least im­por­tant”.

Though Trump has not so far given spe­cific details about what nu­clear arms con­trol treaties they would like to talk about, he and Putin are likely to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­tend­ing the “New Start” treaty — a pil­lar of arms con­trol.

They are also likely to dis­cuss what to do about an­other pact known as the In­ter­me­di­ate-Range Nu­clear Forces Treaty (INF) to try to dam­pen a high-risk nu­clear ri­valry be­tween the two for­mer Cold War foes.

But Trump cau­tioned that it was hard to do sub­stan­tive deals with Rus­sia be­cause of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sus­pected Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 US elec­tion, a probe Trump cast as “rigged witch hunt”.

“We have this stu­pid­ity go­ing on, pure stu­pid­ity, but it makes it very hard to do some­thing with Rus­sia be­cause, any­thing you do, it’s like: ‘Rus­sia, oh he loves Rus­sia’,” Trump said.

“I love the United States but I love get­ting along with Rus­sia and China and other coun­tries. I call it the rigged witch hunt.

“I think that re­ally hurts our coun­try and it re­ally hurts our re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sia,” said Trump who de­nies any col­lu­sion with elec­tion med­dling.

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