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Monday, July 16, 2018

Trump: "Getting along with Russia is not a bad thing"

Por Nina

The historic summit between the president of the United States, Donald Trump, and the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, took place this Monday in Helsinki. After meeting alone with Putin, his US counterpart, Donald Trump, called the face-to-face meeting he held for more than two hours in Helsinki, Finland, "a good start for all." "I think it has been a very good beginning," the US president told reporters at the beginning of the working lunch, in which, in addition to the two leaders, ministers and advisors of the two delegations also participated, among them their respective foreign ministers, Mike Pompeo and Sergey Lavrov.

Putin did not make statements to the press at the beginning of the lunch, although at the beginning of his meeting alone with Trump he had asked him to talk about the "points of tension in the world" about which the two powers have conflicting positions. Both presidents arrived today at the Presidential Palace of the Finnish capital to hold their first formal summit, which was expected to talk about the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, nuclear disarmament and the alleged electoral interference of Moscow. Putin arrived at the Presidential Palace at about 13:35 (10:35 GMT), and climbed the stairs accompanied by the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö. Trump, who had delayed his trip to the palace apparently not to arrive before Putin, arrived at 13:57 (10:57 GMT), more than half an hour after the scheduled start time of the summit. The US president then expressed his confidence in developing an "extraordinary" relationship with his Russian counterpart, and avoided any reference to the alleged interference of Moscow in the US elections. "I really believe that the world wants us to get along," Trump told Putin at the start of his first formal summit.

Trump said during an appearance before the media with his counterpart before his private meeting that getting along with Russia would be "something good, not bad." "The most important thing is that we have a lot of good things to talk about," Trump said after opening his comments with praise for organizing the World Cup in Russia. The two will talk about "everything from trade to military and missiles to China. We'll talk a little about China. Our mutual friend President Xi," he said. "I think that as countries we have great opportunities together. We have not got along very well in recent years, I have not been that strong (in power) but it's been almost two years already. And I think we'll end up having an extraordinary relationship," predicted Trump. The president recalled that Putin and he lead "the two great nuclear powers of the world," and said that "that's not a good thing, but a bad one. I hope we can do something about it, because that's not a positive factor, it's a negative factor. We'll talk about that, among other things," Trump said. For his part, Putin avoided talking about the state of bilateral ties or the future of the relationship, and was happy to meet Trump "in the hospitable soil of Finland." "The time has come to speak at length, both of bilateral relations and of the different points of tension in the world, and they are enough for us to pay attention to them," Putin said in Russian.

The head of the Kremlin said he maintains "permanent contacts" with his US counterpart, adding: "We have spoken on the phone and we have met several times in the framework of various international events." Trump, on the other hand, congratulated Putin on the work of Russia as host of the World Cup that ended on Sunday, and said: "I've seen enough of the competition, and I've seen the whole final and the semifinal." The US president planned to sign the palace's guestbook and greet Putin before starting a one-and-a-half-hour meeting with the Russian president, followed by a working lunch together with their respective delegations and a press conference. It is not clear if the delay in the start of the summit will shorten the original program, which in principle gave the two presidents about three and a half hours to meet. Putin landed in Helsinki at 13:00 local time (10:00 GMT) Monday, the same time at which Trump had planned to reach the Presidential Palace, which apparently led the US president to delay his journey to the headquarters of the summit, in order not to wait there for his Russian counterpart. However, the White House did not confirm if that was the reason for the delay of Trump, who finally made Putin wait for about 20 minutes in the Finnish palace.