Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 16th, 2018

Trump, Putin Start First Bilateral Meeting in Helsinki

Trump, Putin Start First Bilateral  Meeting in Helsinki

HELSINKI - U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday, and they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues.
Speaking briefly to reporters, President Putin said the two leaders had kept regular contacts by phone calls and meetings in various multilateral scenarios, and it’s time to have an in-depth discussion of bilateral ties and urgent international affairs.
There have been so many issues that attention is now necessary, he said.
President Trump said he would raise issues related to “trade, to military, to missiles, to nuclear, to China.”
“I think we have great opportunities together as two countries that frankly, we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years,” President Trump said. 
He praised Putin on hosting the soccer World Cup, which ended Sunday, saying “It was beautifully done, so congratulations.”
The Trump-Putin summit started with a one-on-one meeting that’s expected to last one and a half hours. Later, they will meet with the participation of U.S. and Russian officials.
The meeting is overshadowed by U.S. indictments of 12 Russians last week, who were accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. President Trump came under great pressure to raise the alleged meddling with Putin, who has on numerous occasions denied wrongdoing.
Despite being criticized within the U.S. as friendly towards Russia, the Trump administration has slapped more sanctions on Russia.
The two countries are also deadlocked on Russia’s role in Syria and Ukraine, as well as the Iran nuclear deal, which Washington has torn apart despite continued support from the rest of the parties, including Russia and the European Union.
Possible extension of Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as START, between the two is on the agenda, as Trump said, “We have 90 percent of the nuclear, and that’s not a good thing, it’s a bad thing.”
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is also expected to be talked about. (Xinhua)