Putin and Trump speak by phone, aim for ‘constructive cooperation’

Vladimir Putin [The Kremlin]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President-elect Donald Trump yesterday (14 November) agreed to work towards “constructive cooperation”, including on fighting terrorism, the Kremlin said.

In their first phone call since Trump won the 8 November election, they agreed to maintain contact by phone and arrange a meeting in person in the future, with preparations to be conducted by representatives of both sides.

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Putin reportedly once again congratulated Trump on his victory, wished him success in implementing his election programme and said he was ready “to develop a dialogue of partnership with the new administration on the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs”.

The Kremlin says Putin and Trump not only agreed on the unsatisfactory state of bilateral relations, but also expressed support “for active joint efforts to normalise relations and pursue constructive cooperation on the broadest possible range of issues”. They also reportedly emphasised the importance of establishing a reliable foundation for bilateral ties by developing the trade and economic component.

It added that the countries should “return to pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation in the interests of both countries, as well as global stability and security”.

Reportedly, Putin and Trump spoke of the need to work together in the struggle against the number one common enemy – international terrorism and extremism. In this context, they discussed issues related to solving the crisis in Syria.

Trump’s team issued a statement saying Putin called to offer congratulations. The statement said Trump told Putin he was looking forward to a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and its people.

The two men will maintain contact by phone and seek to meet each other in person, the statement said.

Trump will succeed President Barack Obama on 20 January. Obama’s relations with Putin have become tense over issues that include Syria and Ukraine.

In a recent interview for CBS, president elect Trump said he “loved” the role of Russia who was hitting ISIS in Syria.

Asked by the anchor to comment the fact that Russia was also hitting Syrian groups supported by the US, he said:

“Why are we backing those groups? We don’t know even know who those people are. I speak to generals, they say we are giving billions of dollars of equipment to people we have no idea who they are. They are probably worse than Assad. Assad is no baby, he’s not good, but who are the people we are backing?”

He continued: “Russia and Iran which is now a power, we made them a power, they are backing Assad. We’ve got to get rid of ISIS. We got to get rid of the people that are chopping off everybody’s head”.

Asked if this means he will have a good relationship with Putin, Trump said: “Who knows”.

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