Putin and trump discussed future meeting and the Syrian question

2 may, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed by telephone with his U.S. counterpart Donald trump bilateral relations in the context of international issues. The conversation between the two leaders was the third since joining trump in the post. Earlier, the presidents of the United States and Russia held telephone conversations in late January, immediately after the inauguration of the trump, and 4 April, when the White house called the Russian leader to Express condolences in connection with the terrorist act in the subway of St. Petersburg.

The leaders discussed prospects of cooperation of Russia and the USA in the fight against terrorism in Syria, as well as “extensively discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula.” Putin called for restraint and reducing tension, according to “RIA Novosti”, referring to the Kremlin.

Telephone conversation with Putin is a routine ritual for us President, says Ivan Timofeev, programme Director, Russian international Affairs Council (RIAC). “Russia still a major player in the international arena, including on security issues on the Korean Peninsula and Europe, — said the expert , stressing that the United States cannot ignore Russia’s position today. — Trump wants to have the maximum certainty with Moscow, but at the same time retaining the right to unpredictable actions”.

During the conversation also raised the issue of the first meeting of Putin and trump. The leaders of Russia and the United States voted in favor of the organization of personal meetings on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, to be held July 7-8.

Last week, “Kommersant” reported that their meeting could take place in late may in one of the European countries, where the us President is expected to stay in between the NATO summit in Brussels G7 in the Italian town of Taormina. Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Ryabkov has not confirmed nor denied this information.

In response to a question on the alleged date and place of the meeting, Ryabkov said that no agreement has yet been reached. “We don’t think that a premature discussion of the date and place meaningful will help the preparation [of the meeting]”, he said in an interview .

Disagreements on Syria

One of the main topics of conversation of the Russian and American presidents was Syria and the situation in the middle East. Following the visit to Moscow of Secretary of state Rex Tillerson April 12, the Associated Press reported that the head of the state Department gave the Russian President the basic principles of trump’s plan to resolve the situation in Syria. However, the press Secretary of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov not confirmed the information.

American attacks on Syrian air base in early April, has severely strained relations between Moscow and Washington. Despite this, trump expressed the hope that understanding will be achieved.

In the second half of April, the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Russia has criticized the investigation of the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. Mikhail Ulyanov, Director, Department for nonproliferation and arms control, said that allegations that Russia is trying to hinder the investigation of the chemical attack, are “absolutely false” and “unsatisfactory”. The official said that Western countries “are afraid” that an impartial investigation would cast doubt on their version, according to which in a chemical attack to blame Damascus and Moscow covering it.

However, Western experts believe that despite the hostile rhetoric from both sides and rocket attacks of the USA in Syria, the fact of a chemical attack should unite Moscow and Washington. This view is shared by Michael O’hanlon, an expert from the Brookings institution, a leading analytical center of the United States. It should not conflict with the attempts of Moscow and Washington to cooperate, he said in an interview . “We cannot allow Bashar Assad to gas his own people, he added. — The Russian side should recognize it.”

A serious challenge for Russia and the USA — to develop a strategy that will help with the participation of Assad stabilize the situation in the country at least for a short period of time, says O’hanlon. Columbia University Professor Robert Legvold said in a conversation with that the main goal of the U.S. strikes on Syria to punish Assad for the alleged use of chemical weapons, but such a step does not mean that trump is deliberately carried out this operation to show the world and Putin “who’s boss”, and that the new US administration will pursue a more stringent course. Strike on Syria says that trump has no foreign policy strategies and decisions are situational.

Such unpredictability trump may play into the hands of the Kremlin and the time to make a serious challenge, says Ivan Timofeev, RIAC from. On the one hand, Putin and trump as the pragmatists will seek understanding, but on the other hand, the spontaneity of the American President can lead to even greater conflict. Before coming to power trump Moscow “played in advance” and extract political dividends thanks to its unexpected steps, surprising the international community. Today, however, “this style actively adopts the trump,” the leader of one of the largest nuclear powers. It is alarming the Kremlin, says the expert.

Trump and Putin in absentia exchanged compliments during the election campaign of us President in 2016. But in April this year, Putin acknowledged that the level of trust between Moscow and Washington when trump was even lower than during his predecessor Barack Obama.

Press Secretary of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov said in the broadcast American TV channel ABC said that relations between Russia and the United States are in a situation worse than during the cold war — at the lowest point. However, despite this, he expressed the hope that Putin and trump will be able to establish a dialogue.