MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. The presidents of Russia and USA Vladimir Putin and Donald trump considered his first full meeting, held on Monday in Helsinki, as an important step towards the normalization of relations between the two leading nuclear powers.
Bilateral relations “have never been worse than now” but “it’s changed about four hours ago,” solemnly said trump, referring to the beginning of the Helsinki summit.
The Russian President agreed that relations between the two countries are going through a difficult and stressful period, but at the same time noted that the objective reasons for this state of Affairs there. According to him, the talks “reflected our joint efforts with the President trump the desire to rectify the negative situation in bilateral relations and to outline first steps for their rehabilitation, restoration of an acceptable level of confidence and return to the previous level of cooperation on all questions of mutual interest”.
It is noteworthy that a good half of the final press conference the two leaders inevitably had to devote to the question of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Is groundless statement about this intervention became one of the main factors in the deterioration of Russian-American relations. So perhaps the main outcome of the meeting between Putin and trump in Helsinki can be considered the fact that this meeting did take place, despite the clear and obvious desire of the opponents and even some supporters of the American President to prevent her carrying out.
“Very successful and useful”
In fact, it is the resistance of a significant part of the political circles of the USA was the reason that the first full-fledged negotiations, the Russian and American leaders took place on neutral territory – in the capital of Finland, which already has experience of hosting such summits.
Initially, Putin and trump held talks tete-a-tete, which lasted over two hours – longer than planned, then the meeting continued in an expanded format with the participation of including the foreign Ministers of the two countries.
The talks, according to the Russian leader, “were held in a Frank and businesslike atmosphere.” “I consider them very successful and useful”, – said at the final press conference Putin, who looked confident and relaxed.
He called for continued cooperation between the US and Russia in the sphere of political settlement of the Syrian crisis, noting that “cooperation between our two countries can save hundreds of thousands of lives” in Syria. “Our armed forces get along. They get along, perhaps even better than our political leaders for many years. They coordinate action in Syria and other places,” he said.
Trump also expressed confidence “that Russia will work with US over the denuclearization of North Korea.”
At the same time, in his usual uncompromising manner, the American leader stressed that the United States intends to compete with Russia for the European energy market and oppose the construction of the pipeline “Nord stream – 2”. “We will compete when it comes to the pipeline. And I think that we will compete successfully,” – said the head of the Washington administration, stressing that this competition will be “the strongest”.
However trump “wished me luck” involved in the construction of the pipeline sides. “I discussed [the pipeline] with [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel at a fairly strong colours… let’s See how this will work”, – said the President of the United States. “I’m not sure whether this decision [on the pipeline] all the interests of Germany or not, but she accepted it,” added trump.
In response, Putin said that Moscow and Washington “could work constructively on the regulation of international markets, because we are not interested in extreme prices fall below the lower limit, because it will suffer our manufacturers, by the way, including in the United States, referring to shale oil and gas” and “excessively high prices”.
Speaking about the state of Russian-American relations, trump expressed the view that the responsibility for the deterioration are two sides. “I think that the United States acted stupid, I think everyone acted stupid, so we had a long time to establish this dialogue. In fact, [it happened] long before the moment I took this position. I feel that both sides made mistakes”, – said the President of the United States.
Answering specifying question of the journalist, how he before the summit in Helsinki, described the Russian leader, trump said: “I called his rival, a rival in the best sense of the word. And I think that the word “rival” in this case is a compliment.” He also said that Putin agreed to continue the dialogue. “In the interests of our countries to continue these discussions, and we agreed to do it. I am sure that in future we shall often meet, I hope that we will be able to solve all the problems that were discussed today,” said trump.
“Throw the husk out of my head”
American journalists literally attacked trump’s questions about alleged Russian interference in presidential elections in the United States. They persistently asked and asked the American President about his collusion with Putin about why trump believes the Russian leader on non-interference of Moscow, but does not believe American intelligence. Sounded and questions about if assembled by Russian security services the dirt on trump that allows you to manipulate the actions of the President of the United States.
In response, he stated that there is no conspiracy with Russia, his campaign headquarters was not, and the reason for his election victory was called “a brilliant campaign”. “Collusion was not. I didn’t know the President [Putin]… We had a brilliant election campaign, and that is why I became President,” said trump.
He accused the Democrats of creating a “whole concept” around collusion. According to trump, they began to make such accusations after losing the elections in 2016. He also believes that such information comes from people who had nothing to do with his staff. The President also pointed out that, according to the Federal Bureau of investigation, the United States, during the elections there was “no deceit.”
According to trump, he has “great confidence” to the intelligence services of the United States, which accused Russia of attempts to influence the American electoral process two years ago. “But I will tell you that President Putin was now extremely solid and resolute in its denial of [any RF interference in the U.S. elections],” acknowledged the White house.
The Russian leader is also not remained aloof from the topic “interference” in the elections. “President trump once again touched upon the so-called Russian interference in the electoral processes in the United States. I had to repeat what was already said repeatedly, including in private meetings with the President that the Russian government never interfered and does not intend to interfere in American internal Affairs, including in the electoral process”, – said Putin.
He explained that sympathy, which arose in the Russian society. during his campaign for the U.S. presidency in 2016, was quite natural, since the “as a candidate talked about the need to restore Russian-American relations.” Allegations of collusion in the presidential campaign in the U.S. Putin has called “utter nonsense.” “We were not familiar. President [trump] just said,” – recalled the Russian leader.
Putin laughingly responded to the question about the dirt on trump, which supposedly has the Russian leadership. “As for some dirt… so I heard about this – supposedly we have collected dirt on Mr. trump, when he came to Moscow. Dear colleague, when Mr. trump has arrived in Moscow, I didn’t even know he is there. I respect Mr. Trump as to the American head of state, but when he came in as a businessman, I didn’t even know that he is in Moscow”, – said the Russian President.
As an example, he cited the St. Petersburg international economic forum, which this year was attended by more than 500 American businessmen, with the highest rank. “I even their names I do not remember. And guess what, we are each of them organized by the operational work and collect some dirt?” I was amazed Putin. “More nonsense is hard to imagine just. Throw this peel out of my head!” – asked the Russian leader to the American journalists.
Continuing the theme, Putin noted that spectracolor Robert Mueller could exploit Russian-American agreement of 1999 on mutual legal assistance in criminal cases, to interview 12 alleged members of military intelligence of Russia, which on Friday U.S. authorities have filed charges in absentia in the investigation of the circumstances of “meddling” in the elections of 2016.
“We can offer to your appropriate Committee, headed by spectracolor Mueller… He may, within the scope of this agreement send formal request to conduct the interrogations of those people whom he believes guilty of any offences,- said the Russian President. – Employees of our prosecutors and investigators these interviews can hold and send the relevant materials to the United States.”
He said that Moscow could make “another step forward”. “We can prevent US officials, including this Committee, to be present at these interrogations,” – said Putin.
As said the Russian leader, in this case, Moscow will raise the question, “that the action was mutual,” which in particular applies to the case of the founder of the British Fund Hermitage Capital of William Browder. “Are we going to expect from the American side that they questioned those officials, including representatives of intelligence agencies in the US, whom we suspect of committing illegal actions on the territory of Russia, in the presence of our investigators. What I mean? Known the business of the company Hermitage Capital, Mr Browder,” – said Putin.
“According to our investigation, a group of people – business partners Browder’s illegally earned Russia over $1.5 billion, did not pay taxes neither in Russia, nor in USA, but the money was transferred in the United States, the President noted. – $400 million was sent to the election campaign of Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton, this is the official data present in their reports. That’s their business, they may have done it legally, but the money received illegally”.
Trump praised Putin’s proposal on cooperation in this sphere. “I think it’s an incredible offer,” said the American leader.
“The ball is on the side of the United States”
Under the curtain of the press conference the Russian leader used a question of whose side the ball in Syria – Russian or American, and presented to the President of the United States official ball FIFA world Cup 2018.
“As for the fact that the ball is on our side on Syria: that Mr President just spoke about, that we finished and successfully held the football world Cup. What about the ball – [I want] to Mr. President the ball to pass. Now the ball is on his side”, – Putin joked, taking from the hands of the employees of his Protocol brand sports equipment with the symbols of the just-concluded world Cup, and handed it to his counterpart.
Journalists applauded the gift. The Russian head of state added that his gift is relevant because the United States will play the world Cup 2026. Holding the ball in his hands, trump threw him sitting in the front row, his wife, Melania, that she subsequently gave the ball to their son.
In fact, this ceremony ball has a deeply symbolic character: he is now both literally and figuratively in the U.S., because of further development of contacts between American and Russian leaders and, in a broader sense, the development of relations between the two countries will depend on the reaction of the American political class on the results of the talks in Helsinki.