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(RT, 29/1/2017) ~ Russian President Vladimir Putin has had his first telephone conversation with new US President Donald Trump. They discussed the joint fight against international terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the Ukrainian crisis and plans for a future meeting of the two leaders.

“The Presidents have spoken in favor of establishing a real coordination between the US and Russian actions in order to defeat ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Syria,” the statement said.


The two leaders also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as Iran’s nuclear program. “Major aspects of the Ukrainian crisis have been also touched upon,” the Kremlin announced.

The leaders of Russia and the US have noted a need to restore economic ties “to stimulate” further development of the relationship between the nations.

Putin and Trump also agreed to initiate a process to “work out possible dates and venue of their personal meeting.”

During the conversation the Presidents also expressed their desire to “maintain regular personal contacts,” the Kremlin statement said.

On Friday, speaking at a joint briefing with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said he hoped he would have a “fantastic relationship” with Russia’s president, but understands that might not happen.

Trump has said previously that he would welcome Moscow’s involvement in a joint effort to battle Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“I don’t know Putin, but if we can get along with Russia that’s a great thing. It’s good for Russia; it’s good for us; we go out together and knock the hell out of ISIS, because that’s a real sickness,” he said in an interview with Fox News.

Moscow, for its part, has repeatedly suggested fostering closer cooperation between the Russian and US Air Forces in Syria, but blamed the previous Obama administration for failing to adequately respond to its entreaties.

Relations between the two countries have been marred in recent years over various issues, including divisions on the Syrian crisis and allegations of Russian meddling into the US elections in November of 2016.

US sanctions against Russia – imposed over the crisis in Ukraine – was one of the issues expected to be on the agenda of the Trump-Putin exchange. However, the issue was not mentioned in the Kremlin’s statement summarizing the conversation.

Citing an unnamed source in the White House, a researcher at the Atlantic Council analytical center, Fabrice Pothier,  in a Twitter post on Thursday that the Trump administration “has an executive order ready” to lift the restrictions on Moscow, but Trump said on Friday that it is “very early to be talking about that.”

However, earlier in January, Trump said that he would consider lifting restrictions if Moscow cooperates with Washington on certain issues, such as nuclear arms reduction.

“They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it,” Trump was quoted as saying by the Times.

Trump also said in one of his Tweets that “having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” warning only “fools” would think otherwise. However, several US Senators proposed a bill last week that would make it impossible for the US President to lift restrictions without congressional approval.

Russia has been  about the prospects for a potential “reset” with the US under the new administration. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said the country has no “naive expectations” and is under no “illusions.”


RT, 29/1/2017
Submitted by SyrianPatriot, Lone Bear
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