Saturday, July 14, 2018

Kremlin expects Putin-Trump talks to pave way for mending ties

Kremlin expects Putin-Trump talks to pave way for mending ties
Moscow hopes the upcoming meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump will be the first step towards normalizing relations between the two countries, the Kremlin said Friday.

"The goal of the upcoming meeting is to finally begin efforts to improve the negative situation in the Russia-U.S. relations, to take concrete steps to normalize them, to rebuild a more or less acceptable level of trust, and to try to outline steps that will make it possible to resume mutually beneficial cooperation on matters of mutual interest," Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said when briefing the media about details of the meeting.

Putin and Trump are scheduled to hold a full-fledged summit in Finland's capital Helsinki on July 16.

The summit will begin with a tete-a-tete meeting between Putin and Trump at the presidential palace in Helsinki, and then there will be negotiations in the format of a working meal also involving the delegations, followed by a joint press conference where both presidents will make statements and answer questions, according to Ushakov.

No time limit has been set for the top-level talks, and it is up to Putin and Trump whether to sign a joint communiqué after the talks, he added.

"So far it has been allow the presidents to decide whether there will be some joint document or they will be limited to summarizing at a joint press conference," Ushakov said.

The delegations of the two sides will include the heads of Russian and U.S. foreign policy departments and experts from their government bodies.

Speaking of topics on agenda, the Russian official said that it remains unknown what exact issues will be touched upon at the top-level meeting, adding that Moscow is ready to "consider literally all key issues on the bilateral and international agenda."

Ushakov underlined that interests of Russia and the U.S. coincide in many aspects, such as international security, disarmament, countering terrorism, settling regional conflicts and improving bilateral relations.

Cooperation in the economic field could be a "safety net" for relations between the two countries, Ushakov said.

"For bilateral relations, the situation is very bad... We need to start something to rectify the situation. For example, the economic sphere, I think, could be discussed by the presidents," he said.

Putin would introduce proposals in the economic sphere to Trump at the meeting, according to Ushakov.

In addition, strategic stability, including missile defense and strategic offensive armament, might also be a central topic at the meeting.

On the international agenda, the Syrian crisis could be a focus of the talks between Putin and Trump, as there are many issues regarding the situation around Syria, Ushakov said.

He added that other crises would also be discussed, including the Korean Peninsula issue, the Iran nuclear deal and the Ukrainian conflict.

The widely anticipated summit is the biggest progress Moscow and Washington have made over the past year since bilateral relations have deteriorated to a record level caused by multiple disputes.

Nevertheless, experts warned against over-optimism about the results of the summit or short-term prospects of Russia-U.S. relations due to the deep-rooted "systemic confrontation" between the two sides.

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