The long-awaited first summit of the presidents of Russia and the United States was held in Helsinki.
The first full-fledged Russian-American summit was held on Monday in Helsinki since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States in 2016.
Prior to that, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump met twice and only “on the sidelines” of international events – in July 2017 at the G20 summit in Hamburg and in November of the same year at the APEC summit in Vietnam’s Danang.
The summit program envisaged a tete-a-tete meeting of the leaders of the two states with an hour and a half regulation and Russian-American negotiations in an expanded format with the participation of delegations from the two countries. Before the beginning of the personal conversation, the presidents of Russia and the US exchanged brief greetings and did not answer journalists’ questions, despite attempts by media representatives to ask them questions right at the beginning of the event.
The conversation between Putin and Trump tete-a-tete began with a 55-minute delay and lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Following the summit, Putin said that negotiations with Trump were useful and took place in a businesslike, frank atmosphere. “I consider them to be very successful and useful,” he said.
According to the Russian president, the talks with Trump showed a mutual desire to rectify the negative situation in the relations between Russia and the United States. “Today’s talks reflected our joint desire with President Trump to rectify the negative situation in our bilateral relations, to outline the first steps to improve them, restore an acceptable level of confidence and return to cooperation of the previous level,” Putin said.
The Russian president expressed the opinion that the difficulties and the complex atmosphere in the relations between Russia and the United States have no objective reasons. “The Cold War” has long ended, the era of acute ideological confrontation between the two countries has gone far into the past, the situation in the world has radically changed, “Putin said, adding that” today both Russia and the United States face completely different challenges, “and” cope with this you can only combine efforts.”
The Russian president did not talk about the degree of trust between him and the US leader, but noted that they have the same interests. “We are looking for options how to reconcile these differences, how to make our work constructive,” Putin said.
Meanwhile, Trump, referring to the current state of relations between Moscow and Washington, noted that both sides “are responsible for the current situation.” “I think that the US is acting silly, we should have started a dialogue (with Russia) long ago, even before I came to power,” the American leader said.
“I believe that we are all guilty, and the United States is now actually building this relationship with Russia, and we have a chance to cooperate, and stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons is the most important issue that we can work on.”
Trump said that during the talks with Putin, he directly raised the issue of Moscow’s interference in the American elections. He again rejected the allegations of collusion between his campaign headquarters and Moscow during the election campaign in the American presidential election and assured that “his election campaign was clean.” “We just won this race,” he stated.
According to Trump, the investigation of the facts of the alleged Russian interference in the presidential elections in the US “had a negative impact on relations between the two largest nuclear powers.” The US president questioned the FBI’s actions in the framework of the investigation into the possible interference of Russia in the elections in the US and noted that Putin categorically rejected accusations against Moscow. He noted that it is necessary to understand what happened with the e-mails of Hillary Clinton. “33 thousand emails just disappeared, they just disappeared, it’s a shame we can not get and get these 33 thousand e-mails,” he said. Trump also said that twelve Russians, accused of involvement in interference in elections in the US, have nothing to do with electoral processes.
In turn, Putin said that Russia does not interfere and is not going to interfere in the internal affairs of the United States. He stressed that Russia is ready, in the framework of the cybersecurity group together with the United States, to consider evidence of interference in the American elections, if any, and Russian law enforcement officials can interrogate the accused of interfering in US elections at the request of the United States and send a response to Washington. In addition, the Russian president noted Russia’s readiness to allow US officials to attend these interrogations in exchange for questioning representatives of US special services, whom Moscow suspects of illegal actions on the territory of the Russian Federation, in the presence of Russian troops of the children. Putin mentioned, in particular, the so-called case of Hermitage Capital, a fund led by financier William Browder, convicted in Russia of fraud. Putin also said that all the allegations of alleged interference in the US elections against the Russian company Concord are scattered in the US court . “We heard allegations against Concord.” As far as I know, this firm hired American lawyers, and all charges against her have broken out in the US court, “he said. The Russian president also stressed that the employees of Concorde do not represent the Russian state, and said that only the court, and not special services, can make a verdict on the alleged interference of Russia in the elections to the US. Energy Question After the meeting with Trump, that Russia is ready to extend the current contract for the transit of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine, which expires in 2019, subject to the settlement of disputes between Russia and Ukraine in the Stockholm arbitration. In turn, the US president said that the American side leaves Germany’s decision to take part in Northern Stream 2 behind it, but promised that US energy resources will compete with this pipeline. “We will compete when we talk about the pipeline, I’m not sure that this is in the best interest of Germany, the United States will and are already the largest state in oil and gas.” We sell LNG and compete with the pipeline, “he said. recalled that he had previously discussed this issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “I discussed this issue with Angela Merkel in harsh tones.” They have a close source (Russia).
During the press conference, Putin announced that he had agreed with President Emmanuel Macron of France Syria’s humanitarian assistance and Russia’s willingness to provide military transport aircraft for this purpose. According to him, the issue of humanitarian aid to Syria was also discussed at the talks with the US president. “I think that there is something to work on,” the Russian president stressed. The Russian president stressed that, on the whole, he agreed with US President D. Trump that the Russian and American military are successfully operating in Syria. “I hope that they will manage to negotiate as it has been so far,” Putin said. He also stressed that after the defeat of terrorists in the southern zone of de-escalation in Syria, the situation on the Golan Heights should be returned to the agreement of 1974, this will ensure security Israel, for which the Russian Federation is in favor. According to the Russian head of state, “this will restore calm to the Golan, restore the ceasefire between the Syrian Arab Republic and Israel, reliably ensure the security of the State of Israel.” Putin at a press conference with Trump beautiful gesture demonstrated on whose side, in his opinion, “there is a ball” regarding the settlement of the situation in Syria. He unexpectedly took out and handed Trump a soccer ball that had appeared on the eve of the transfer of authority to host the World Cup from Russia to Qatar. Thus, the Russian president illustrated his comment in connection with the statements of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said earlier in Helsinki on Monday that the ball in the issues of the Syrian settlement is on the side of Russia. For his part, Trump with a smile took the soccer ball from the hands of the Russian president. “That’s right, yes, we will conduct it (FM-2026), and we hope that we will also be able to cope well with this work,” Trump said. He noted that he would give the ball given to his son Baron: “Now, Melania, take the ball for him.” With these words, the American president gave the ball to his wife, who was sitting in the first row. The Russian-American expert council suggests that Washington create an expert council to find common ground and work on the philosophy of building long-term bilateral relations. “It’s time to unfreeze Russian-American ties on the basis of public organizations in the framework of cultural and humanitarian ties,” Putin said after a meeting with his American counterpart. “It would be good to involve experienced experts who know Russian-American history well. to form an expert council of influential Russian and American political scientists, scientists, former diplomats and military, who would look for points of contact and comprehension of how to withdraw international cooperation but a stable-positive trajectory, “he said. The leaders of Russia and the United States also agreed to create a group of representatives of Russian and American businesses that will prepare proposals for the development of trade and investment. “To promote mutual trade and investment, President Trump and I agreed to create a high-level group that would unite the” captains of Russian and American business “- entrepreneurs know better how to build a mutually beneficial cool, let them think what can be done and make their proposals on this score, “Putin said.