Putin Calls Summit with Trump First Step towards ‘Clearing Backlog’ of Problems in Russia-US Relations

Moscow and Washington Have Necessary Components for Cooperation in Settling Crisis in Syria, says Putin

HELSINKI- Russian President Vladimir Putin has called his summit talks with US President Donald Trump the first move towards "clearing the backlog" of problems in relations between the two countries.

"Of course, numerous problems persist, and we have failed to clear the backlog in full, it was impossible to do this, but I believe we have made the first important step in that direction," Putin told a news conference after the summit talks in Helsinki on Monday, Itar Tass reported.

The talks with Trump were useful and successful, according to Putin.

 "The talks with President of the United States Mr. Donald Trump were held in a frank, business-like atmosphere," he said. "I view them as successful and useful."

According to Putin, the two presidents "focused on the current state of and potential for Russian-US relations along with relevant international issues."

"It is evident that bilateral relations are going through tough times, but those difficulties and the current tense atmosphere have no objective reasons," Putin confirmed.

"The Cold War ended long ago, the era of acute ideological confrontation between the two countries is a thing of the past, and the situation has drastically changed in the world," he explained.

Putin also said he was satisfied in general with results of the talks.

"On the whole, we’re satisfied with our first full-scale meeting," he said. "President Trump and I have had a great conversation and I hope we’ve begun to understand each other better."

Common threats

Putin is sure that Russia and the United States must join forces to combat common threats.

"Today, both Russia and the US face completely different challenges: dangerous destabilization of international security and stability mechanisms, regional crises, the spread of terrorism and transnational crime, criminality, increasing global economic problems, ecological and other risks. We can tackle all these only by joining forces," the Russian leader stressed.

"I hope we and our American partners will understand this," Putin noted.

According to Putin, "today’s talks have reflected that President Trump and I are both interested in fixing the negative state of our bilateral relations, outlining the first steps for their improvement, restoring an acceptable level of trust and returning to former levels of cooperation on all issues of mutual interest."

Cooperation on Syria

Moscow and Washington have the necessary components for cooperation in settling the Syrian situation and can take up leadership in assisting efforts for overcoming the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Putin said.

"Russia and the United States can undoubtedly assume leadership on this issue and organize interaction in overcoming the humanitarian crisis and help refugees return to their homes," Putin said, stressing that Russia and the US had all the necessary components for interaction on Syria.

 According to SANA, Putin also He that after the defeat of terrorists in the south-west of Syria, the situation in Syrian Golan “must be brought in full compliance with the 1974 disengagement of forces agreement and that has been affirmed by the US president , which is also Russia’s firm stance towards establishing a just and lasting peace based on UN Security Council resolutions.

Speaking about regional crises, Putin stressed that the positions of Moscow and Washington "do not coincide everywhere and on all the issues" but "there are also a lot of common interests."

"It is necessary to look for points of contact, including at international forums," Putin said, according to Tass.

Accusations of alleged meddling in US elections

Allegations about Russia’s meddling with the 2016 presidential election in the United States have been proven to be groundless during court hearings, Putin noted.

"We have heard accusations against Concord Co. As far as I know, this company hired American lawyers and all these accusations are coming apart in a US court," he said. "Look at what is happening in court. This is what one should rely upon, rather than on rumors."

Crimea

Putin has acknowledged the differences in Russian and US positions on Crimea, saying along with it the issue is off the table for Moscow.

"The position of President [Donald Trump] on Crimea is well-known and he abides by it as he speaks about the illegitimacy of Crimea's reunification with Russia," the Russian leader stated.

"On our part, we have a different viewpoint as we believe the referendum [in March 2014 on Crimea's reunification with Russia TASS] was held in strict compliance with international law and with the UN Charter," Putin said. "As far as we, the Russian Federation, are concerned, this issue is off the table."

Russia, US targets identical regarding political settlement in Syria

Meanwhile, Russian President’s special representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev said the targets of Russia and US are identical regarding political settlement for the crisis in Syria.

RT quoted Lavrentiev as saying to journalists on the sidelines of the summit that the most important thing for Russia is the stability of the situation in Syria, the cessation of hostilities, and the arrangement of the political process in the country.

He said that the Iranian troops are not present in the de-escalation zone in southern Syria, and the presence of the Iranian advisers in the country came upon a request of the Syrian government.

More fruitful than expected

In a statement to Channel One Russia late on Monday, Putin revealed that the Helsinki summit with Donald Trump was more fruitful than expected, stating that the US president is a competent man, who knows how to listen, yet stand his ground.

“I did not hold my expectations high, since it’s our first meaningful meeting. It was designed to have a warm-up nature, so that we can have more concrete talks in the future,” Putin said. “But it turned out different, our discussion proved to be really thoughtful.”

Putin-Trump talks were better than super, says Lavrov

The talks were better than super, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday after the summit meeting between Presidents Putin and Trump.

When asked about the talks, he said, "They will tell you everything soon." When journalists kept on asking, Lavrov said, "Better than super."

Putin and Trump spoke behind closed doors for more than two hours to be later joined by other officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

Hamda Mustafa

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