Published: Tue, July 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Two-hour Trump, Putin meeting in Helsinki ends on ‘very good start’

Two-hour Trump, Putin meeting in Helsinki ends on ‘very good start’

In a pair of tweets sent early on Monday morning, prior to breakfast with the President and First Lady of Finland, Trump took to Twitter to blame the USA for poor relations between itself and Russian Federation in recent times, claiming that their relationship "has NEVER been worse".

"Our relationship with Russian Federation has never been worse", he wrote, blaming "many years of USA foolishness and stupidity and now, the rigged witch hunt!".

Hours earlier, Trump lambasted his own government for poor USA relations with Russian Federation.

"We agree", the ministry tweeted succinctly on Monday, minutes before Trump and Vladimir Putin began their meeting in Helsinki with a handshake and a pledge to discuss all the differences between their nations.

"We have not been getting along well for the last number of years", Trump said after arriving at the Presidential Palace in Finland's capital, where the leaders are meeting.

"Nothing bad's gonna come out of it, and maybe some good will come out", Trump said.

"So all of those things, in my view", he added, "are the reasons why there's tensions in U.S. -Russia relations".

Trump said the two countries can have an "extraordinary relationship". It's normal." At the closing press conference, Putin, riding high after hosting a successful World Cup, unveiled a gift he'd brought for Trump: "a red and white soccer ball, which he tossed to Trump at the neighboring lectern.

"The experience I had in communicating with the USA president says that although his actions are often subject to criticism, particularly on the worldwide stage and in the field of economics, nevertheless the experience tells me that he is a serious-minded person capable of listening and responding to the arguments presented by the other side".

Trump said the leaders' discussions would cover trade, the military, missiles, nuclear, China - "our mutual friend, President Xi" - but did not mention election interference. "But I love getting along with Russian Federation, and China, and other countries".

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Indeed, some domestic critics wanted the Helsinki summit called off entirely after 12 Russian military agents were indicted under a long-running probe into Moscow's alleged manipulation of the 2016 United States elections.

He made no criticism of Russian Federation on any of the issues that have brought relations between the two powers to the lowest ebb since the Cold War.

The president did not elaborate on Putin's idea.

Putin told Trump at the start of their summit that it was time to talk about relations between Moscow and Washington.

"I don't believe in walking into the room with a world leader who's an enemy, who's a strategic threat unless you have a specific game plan", Rosenberg told CBN News. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: "Do you know which team you play for?"

On the issue that has dominated U.S. coverage of the summit, Trump said he saw no reason to believe his own intelligence agencies rather than trust the Kremlin leader on the question of whether Russsia interfered to help him win the 2016 election.

Some Kremlin watchers saw Putin's lack of punctuality as a deliberate tactic of trying to throw his vis-a-vis off balance, but others pointed out that it appears to be more of a personal trait than a well-calculated strategy.

For Putin, that the summit is even happening despite Russia's semi-pariah status among some Americans and U.S. allies is a geopolitical win.

Trump has lashed out at other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, urging them to spend more on defence. Browder, an outspoken Putin critic, was a driving force behind a USA law targeting Russian officials over human rights abuses. But if you look at the USA media they mostly focus on potential risks.

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