Trump, Putin discuss Ukraine, Syria, terrorism

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Hamburg, July 8 (IANS) US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held their first ever and much-anticipated sit-down discussion here on Friday, focussing on the situation in Ukraine and Syria, fight against terrorism and cyber security, on the sidelines of the G20 summit here.

The meeting lasted about 2 hours and 20 minutes, according to Russian news agency Sputnik.

“I had a very lengthy conversation with the President of the United States. There were a lot of issues such as Ukraine, Syria, other problems, some bilateral issues,” Putin said at the beginning of his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We again returned to the issues of fighting terrorism and cyber security,” Putin added.

The Trump-Putin formal meeting came hours after a brief encounter upon arrival at the Hamburg summit, during which they shook hands and exchanged a few words.

Trump began their meeting by saying: “President Putin and I have been discussing various things. And I think it is going very well.”

“We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned. And it is an honor to be with you,” Trump said.

“I’m delighted to meet you personally, and I hope our meeting will bring results,” Putin said after shaking hands with Trump.

Following the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Putin-Trump meeting was constructive and confirmed desire to search for mutually-beneficial agreements, according to Sputnik.

There were opportunities to speed up implementation of the Minsk Agreement on Ukraine, Lavrov said.

The Minsk agreement, which envisages a comprehensive ceasefire and a withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line, is aimed at a peaceful ending of the confrontation in Ukraine, which has killed more than 10,000 people and left almost 24,000 others injured.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Trump and Putin have agreed on a ceasefire deal covering part of Syria.

The ceasefire is to take effect on July 9 at noon Damascus time, according to German media. No other details were disclosed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she welcomed the first ever personal meeting between Putin and Trump at the G20 summit.

“I very much welcome the fact that Presidents Trump and Putin met on the sidelines of the summit,” Merkel said.

The two-day summit is attended by heads of state and government of the 20 major industrialized and emerging countries, as well as many international organisations.

–IANS

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