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Kremlin says Trump and Putin to collaborate on terrorism

US president Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin plan to meet soon to discuss “joining forces” in the Syrian conflict and “partnering” to solve a range of global issues, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

During a 45-minute phone conversation, their first since Mr Trump was sworn in last week, the two men spoke in a “positive and businesslike manner” aimed at “stabilising and developing Russo-American co-operation”, according to the Kremlin’s readout of the call. 

Washington and Moscow will make a priority of joining forces against international terrorism, the Kremlin said, including “real co-ordination of Russian and American actions aimed at destroying ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria”. 

Mr Trump and Mr Putin also agreed to partner on a broad range of other issues including the Arab-Israeli conflict, nuclear security and non-proliferation, the Iranian nuclear program, North Korea, and “the main aspects of the crisis in Ukraine”, the Kremlin said.

The readout did not mention a possible easing of US sanctions over the Ukrainian conflict, but said that Mr Putin and Mr Trump agreed on the importance of “restoring mutually beneficial trade and economic links between the business circles of both nations, which could additionally stimulate ongoing, secure development of bilateral relations”.

“Donald Trump asked to convey wishes of happiness and prosperity to the Russian people, pointing out that the American people are kindly predisposed to Russia and her citizens,” the Kremlin continued.

Mr Putin replied by saying that Russians “hold similar feelings about Americans” and now looks at the US as “an extremely important partner in combating international terrorism”.

In phone call between Mr Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also held on Saturday, a separate affirmation was made on the importance of close German-American cooperation to the “countries’ security and prosperity”. Relations with Russia and the Ukraine crisis were topics of discussion, along with Nato and the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.

“The leaders agreed on the need to strengthen already robust cooperation in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, and to work to stabilise conflict areas in the Middle East and North Africa,” the White House said.

The two agreed on “the Nato Alliance’s fundamental importance to the broader transatlantic relationship and its role in ensuring the peace and stability of our North Atlantic community”.

President Trump also accepted the chancellor’s invitation to the G20 summit in Hamburg in July.

Via FT