Trump-Putin meeting at G20 is none of reporters’ business, says Trump

Trump Putin meeting G20 reporters—US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he would not report on his talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, scheduled on the sidelines of the G20 summit that opens Friday in Japan.

Asked about this meeting by reporters, he replied that he would have “a very good conversation” with the Russian president, before adding: “But what I will tell him is none your business.” Donald Trump was speaking from the gardens of the White House before he left for Asia. A Kremlin adviser said earlier that Putin and Trump would discuss the war in Syria and tensions around Iran during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka.

This particularly awaited meeting is also set to take place against a backdrop of ongoing US parliamentary inquiries into the links between the Republican campaign for the 2016 presidential election and Russia.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, whose investigative report on the case was released in April, is due to testify in a public hearing before Congress on July 17, announced Tuesday evening Democrats.

Their last tête-à-tête, in Helsinki, dates back to July 2018. Donald Trump, who had promised to improve relations between the United States and Russia, shocked the American political class with its conciliatory tone towards Vladimir Poutine.

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Earlier this year, Vladimir Putin told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Donald Trump was keen to improve Russian-American relations, which have been harmed in recent years.

“I had the impression that your president wanted to rehabilitate Russian-American relations and contacts, and that he was eager to resolve issues of common interest,” said the Kremlin resident to his host, at the Russian seaside resort of Sochi, at the edge of the Black Sea. “We have said time and again that we, too, want to fully re-establish our relationship, and I hope that the necessary conditions will be created now,” he continued.

Vladimir Putin is also open to a new meeting with Donald Trump if Moscow receives an official proposal to this effect, said a Kremlin advisor, Yuri Ushakov. The Russian president also reaffirmed in Sochi that Moscow had never interfered in the US elections.

The head of the Russian diplomacy admitted that much suspicion remained between the United States and Russia but said he hoped to reach a constructive dialogue. These suspicions and prejudices, he said, “penalize our safety and security and cause concern in the world, and we believe it is time to develop a new and more constructive matrix of our relations”.

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“We are ready to do this if our American colleagues are ready to do the same thing, let’s try and see what happens,” continued Lavrov.

Speaking to reporters after his interview with Putin, Pompeo said both sides had a “very productive” conservation on Syria, around a political process aimed at finding a way out of the conflict, and advanced ” constructive points” for Afghanistan. The head of the US diplomacy also said he spoke about North Korea, about which Washington and Moscow share “the same goal”. “Putin understands that Americans are on the front line, but there are opportunities to work together,” said Pompeo.

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Andrei Santov

Andrei, a sociologist by profession, born in Russia but currently located in UK, covers mostly European and Russia-related news for The Talking Democrat.