Trump, Putin Talk About Stabilizing Ties, Cooperating in Syria

Kremlin Reports 'Positive and Businesslike' Talks

by Jason Ditz, January 29, 2017

Details of the phone call between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are still trickling out, with the Kremlin describing the first phone call since Trump’s inauguration as “positive and businesslike,” but neither side offering much in the way of specifics.

It does appear that the discussions centered on planned normalization of US-Russian relations, and to that end both sides were said to be somewhat eager, though it is unclear if the Russian sanctions were discussed, or whether the possibility of lifting them even came up.

Beyond bilateral ties and the need to improve them, the Kremlin reported that the possibility of cooperation in Syria was discussed, along with  mutual concerns about North Korea and the situation in East Ukraine. Both sides were very tight-lipped about specifics, however, so it is as yet unknown where they stand on these issues.

President Trump reportedly spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Premier Abe Shinzo before the phone call with Putin, and it is likely Merkel pushed heavily against the idea of US-Russian ties improving, as German officials have be4en outspokenly pushing for keeping Russia at arm’s length for the sake of NATO unity.

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