Historic Putin-Trump summit starts in Helsinki

Historic Putin-Trump summit starts in Helsinki

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump have started bilateral negotiations in the Helsinki’s presidential palace.

The meeting began nearly an hour later than planned. Initially, it was planned that Putin would arrive at 13:00, while the negotiations would start at 13:20.

After Trump’s arrival (about 30 minutes after the Russian president), the two leaders shook hands with each other and proceeded to the palace’s Gothic Hall where the negotiations began. The talks are scheduled to take 90 minutes but there are no exact timeframes.

Trump told Putin that their talks will be focusing on a wide range of issues, involving trade, military cooperation and also relations with China. "Most importantly we have a lot of good things to talk about," Trump said.

The two heads of state will talk about "everything from trade to military, from missiles to China. We’ll be talking a little bit about China. Our mutual friend president Xi," TASS cited the US president as saying.

Putin said he is glad to meet his US counterpart and wants to discuss with him relations between the two countries and global problems.

"We maintain regular contacts - we have spoken over the phone and had several meetings on the sidelines of various forums. But, obviously, it is high time to discuss in detail our bilateral relations and various painful topics of the global agenda - there are quite a lot of them," Putin said at the beginning of his talks with Trump.

Plans for the summit have been loosely defined, with "no hard and fast agenda", according to the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the agenda "will be determined by the presidents in the course of the event."

Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov, in turn, said earlier that Moscow is ready to "consider literally all key issues on the bilateral and international agenda."

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said, "Ideally, we would like to agree on the restoration of communication channels on all the difficult questions where our positions diverge." "Success would be if we start to communicate normally," he explained.

The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, speaking earlier to Vestnik Kavkaza, drew attention to the uniqueness of the planned meeting.

"It does not follow from any preparatory work, development of an agenda, but it is long overdue, and will try to return a sufficiently high level dialogue between our countries. The negotiating teams always prepare two sets of issues for such meetings, namely, issues that are put forward by one or the other party and which may arise during the negotiations. "In this case, the difficulty will be that it is necessary to touch on a very large set of problems, which were discussed at the level of the first persons only during phone talks, and, of course, this is absolutely not enough. Therefore,  the presidents will have to go through the whole complex of problems of international life and bilateral relations. And it will be the biggest achievement if we manage, as a result, to agree on holding regular meetings at the highest level," Andrei Baklanov stressed.

The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, in turn, called the upcoming meeting of the presidents "postmodern, philosophical and anti-European." "It is a post-modern meeting, since its form is its content, there will be no meaningful negotiations during it. No compromise has been prepared on all basic issues - neither on Ukraine nor on Syria - so there will be no compromise. But there will be a postmodernist picture for Europeans. Trump's message: "Hey, why you are so angry with me, I can make friends with Putin, your enemy." Another Trump's message may go to China: "Look, the Chinese, you are so friendly with Russia, consider it as an ally, but the US also can be friends with Russia." Also, he will send a message the his people:." Look, I am not afraid to meet with Putin," he said.

Moscow will use this meeting in a similar way. "Russia will send its signals to those who participate in the hybrid war against us and refers to the US order. This is the first big block of the upcoming talks' meaning," Sergey Markov noted.

"The second meaning is that it will be a philosophical meeting of leaders. A very serious dialogue on serious problems is possible at this meeting, Trump wants to understand Putin as the leader of the state. Putin is interested in Trump as well. Although there will be no compromise in Ukraine, US policy towards Ukraine can cardinally change after this meeting, since Putin can open Trump's eyes to what is doing there," the political scientist predicts.

"Of course, such a drastic change can only take place after a certain time after the talks, while after the meeting , I think, they announced some abstract statements about North Korea and the fight against ISIS," Sergei Markov reminded.

Putin and Trump first held talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. In November 2017, Putin and Trump held a brief meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam, adopting a joint statement on Syria.


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