Friday, 23 February, 2018

US, Russia reach deal on Syria ceasefire

G20 leaders summit in Hamburg G20 Summit: Merkel's epic eye-roll at Putin caught on camera
Sammy Stanley | 08 July, 2017, 16:32

AP reports that the president raised the issue during their more than two hour meeting, and Putin denied involvement.

Tillerson said they also agreed to a "de-escalation agreement" regarding a section of southwestern Syria.

"While discussing Ukraine, the American side informed us that they had appointed a special representative to assist the efforts on settling the Ukrainian crisis".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Donald Trump opened the meeting with Vladimir Putin raising the issue of Russian election meddling.

Lavrov says Trump has accepted Putin's assurances that Moscow hasn't meddled in the U.S.

It was announced Friday that the two nations along with Jordan had brokered a cease-fire agreement in the southwest of Syria to take effect Sunday - an indication, Tillerson said, of what is possible when Russian Federation and the USA cooperate on areas of mutual concern. Syria's government briefly extended that unilateral cease-fire, which is now set to expire Saturday - a day before the USA and Russian deal would take effect.

Lavrov added that the Ukrainian issue had been discussed "in a concrete, businesslike" manner.

"In some sense it's a breakthrough", said Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the foreign relations committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament. "And it's an honor to be with you", Trump said at the start of the meeting. They even sent in the first lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn't work either.

"We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russian Federation, and for the United States and for everybody concerned".

Trump says U.S. hopes for quick trade deal with UK
Trump was reportedly reluctant to come to London while huge protests were planned against the visit. Asked if the state visit would still go ahead, Trump indicated that they would be working on a date.

The meeting was considered Trump's first major test of whether he can improve US relations with Russian Federation, as ties have been chilly in recent years, amid sanctions against Moscow.

Opening his second overseas trip since taking office in January, Trump also stated unequivocally that the USA stands "firmly behind Article 5", the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation provision requiring members to defend each other if they come under attack.

Dana Perino, a former press secretary to President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter that being the first to describe a meeting to reporters is an "excellent practice" after any meeting with a foreign leader and "avoids distortion" by the other side. But Trump himself has often added to the controversy with his own statements.

The spouses of the other G20 leaders toured a climate change center in Hamburg and took a river cruise - sans their American counterpart - while the world leaders attended the summit.

In response to a question from NBC correspondent Hallie Jackson, Trump said, "I think it was Russian Federation, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement".

Democrats condemned Trump for appearing not to challenge Putin over his reported claim of innocence in the USA election. "We are going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue", Trump said as photographers snapped photos of the two presidents.

That the deal was announced before all the details were ironed out was a clear indication of how eager the USA and Russian Federation were to cast their leaders' first meeting as a success.

"It's about time Russian Federation heard "nyet" from a leader of the free world". The two leaders agreed to set up a working group on cybersecurity.

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