Trump arrives in Helsinki for summit with Putin

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Helsinki, July 16 (IANS) US President Donald Trump arrived here on Sunday evening for the summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the first one-on-one meeting between the two leaders in the midst of various tensions.

Coming directly from Scotland after his visit to Britain, Trump will hold talks with Putin on Monday with only translators. The two presidents will later hold a joint press conference to introduce the results of their meeting, Xinhua reported.

The Russian President will arrive in Helsinki on Monday morning after he watched the FIFA World Cup final between France and Croatia on Sunday afternoon in Moscow.

Trump and Putin will also meet Finnish President Sauli Niinisto respectively on Monday, and the whole event will end up with a press conference by Niinisto on Monday evening.

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The meeting came in the midst of tensions between Russia and the West in issues concerning Iran, Syria and Crimea, as well as the unprecedented alienation between the US and its trans–Atlantic allies over trade and defense.

Helsinki has beefed up security for this event, with increased police patrolling around the city. Part of the downtown will be closed on Monday, everyday life of ordinary people has been affected and public transport are disturbed.

The police said 16 or more demonstrations were registered before and during the summit, and on Sunday around 2,500 people got together at the Helsinki city center Senate Square to protest against the summit and Trump.

“Rage against racism!” “Stop deportations!” wrote some banners, which referred to Trump’s migration policies.

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According to Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori, it was the two presidents themselves that decided to meet in the city, adding that he had no expectations over the summit but only provided suitable circumstances for it, and the city was not worried about the protests at all.

The city is now full of signs about the meeting. The city created a dedicated pattern for the meeting and #HELSINKI2018 hashtag on twitter. Slogans in both English and Russian with different appeals are hanging around the city.

–IANS

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