Meeting of the presidents of Russia and the United States in Helsinki, as expected, did not lead to agreements that could radically improve relations between the two countries. However, in the Syrian direction, they still reached practical results
Donald trump and Vladimir Putin
(Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
The summit for the whole day
The first half of the year Donald trump on the post of the President of the United States full-format Russian-American summit lasted five hours. Negotiations began in Helsinki almost an hour late, two hours a day instead of the hour (beginning at this time, announced the Finnish foreign Ministry confirmed the Russian and American sides, but President Putin late arrival).
Putin and trump began a summit meeting one-on-one. It lasted two hours. Putin in the beginning of the meeting briefly told me that he would like to discuss “bilateral relations and pain points.” Trump was more loquacious: he congratulated the Russian leader on the successful holding of the world Cup, which ended in Moscow on 15 July, saying that in the U.S. this game is called “soccer” and he watched the finals and semi-finals (Putin later at a press conference gave the Trump world Cup ball, which he threw his wife Melania her to their younger son, Barron). “We have a huge number of topics which we must discuss very interesting themes ranging from issues such as trade, Commerce, military matters, and issues connected with China, nuclear policy, talk about our mutual friend, XI [Chinese President XI]”, — told the trump.
USA vs China: why Washington will lose in a trade war
Set topics at the beginning of the negotiations mentioned trump, somewhat different from the one announced earlier. Speaking at the NATO summit and during a visit to London last week, he said that in the negotiations the two presidents will be Syria, Ukraine and the issues of strategic stability, and China are among the main themes did not appear.
Trump was going to raise the question of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016. However, at the beginning of negotiations trump about this topic is not mentioned, nothing was said about the topic of Syria or Ukraine.
After two hours of chatting tete-a-tete followed by negotiations with the participation of small delegations from Russia the meeting was attended by assistant to the President Yuri Ushakov, press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, Ambassador to the USA Anatoly Antonov. On the American side in the small circle of participants working lunch was made national security adviser John Bolton, responsible for the Russian direction of the national security Council Fiona hill, Secretary of state Mike Pompeo, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John huntsman. The summit was ended the hour with a press conference.
Regards from Moscow and Washington
However, from the statements of the presidents and their answers to questions during a press conference indicated that it was discussed mostly previously designated experts and negotiators issues: the situation in bilateral relations, Syria, Ukraine, the Russian intervention in elections.
According to Putin, both leaders feel a common desire to rectify a negative situation in a relationship and to restore an acceptable level of confidence. The situation has changed “approximately four hours ago,” said trump at the beginning of the press conference.
But how exactly are they going to establish relations, the leaders have not told. Was not accepted and the total of the final statement which usually terminates such meetings at the highest level.
On issues of strategic stability and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Russian side handed over to the us colleagues note a number of specific proposals, said Putin at a press conference. What is he not said. He proposed to discuss the possibility of extending the Contract on reduction of strategic offensive arms (start-3, expires in 2021), and the status of the Treaty on the non-proliferation of missiles and medium-range. Russia calls for continued cooperation on counterterrorism, which did not stop and were implemented successfully during the world Cup, Putin said. But for a more successful work Moscow offers to reestablish a bilateral working group on combating terrorism and to establish a working group on cyber security. That she should earn, the presidents said in July last year at a meeting in Hamburg. Among other proposals of Russia to change the philosophy of relations between Moscow and Washington, that Putin considers it necessary to establish a group of experts, scholars and scientists on a wide range of issues.
(Photo: Grigory Dukor / Reuters)
Agreement and Syria
Agreements at the summit are not many. One of them is the creation of a “high-level group, which brings together captains of the Russian and American business,” said Putin. Assistant to the President Yuri Ushakov, a few days before the summit said that the level of economic relations between the two countries does not meet their potential (bilateral trade in 2017 totaled $23.2 billion). Did you discuss the issue of the U.S. economic sanctions against Russia, the President did not mention (2011, sanctions were expanded to 53 times, below them is 248 Russians and 442 of the company, calculated at the Kremlin).
Commenting on the agreement on international issues, Putin said on Russia’s support to the implementation of the 1974 agreement on disengagement of Israeli and Syrian troops on the Golan heights and the implementation of the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. Putin said that trump has given this subject special attention.
That’s one of the few issues on which the parties can find common ground, will be the topic of Syria, talked and interviewed by RBC experts. Trump you need to secure Israel’s borders from Syria, where there are also Iranian armed forces. Russia with Israel closely, so in Moscow to this question are understanding. Trump reminded about the inadmissibility of the Iranian military presence close to Israel and this issue will be discussed further.
Other international issues, Putin and trump didn’t almost touch. When discussing the Ukrainian crisis drew attention to the fair implementation of the Minsk agreements. The United States could do more to configure the Ukrainian government on this work, Putin said. Trump this issue was not commented on. Not he responded to a question about that earlier contradictory were expressed on the status of Crimea, but he did the Russian President: “the Position of the President of trump in the Crimea is known, he speaks on the illegality of the annexation of Crimea. We have a different point of view. For us the matter is closed”.
Willingness to contribute to the
More on the press conference of the presidents attention was paid to the question of alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election of 2016. Trump has said several times that his team was not any collusion with the Russians. Not found the Board of spectracolor USA Robert Muller: on Friday, the Commission was charged with conspiracy against the United States and the hacking of the servers of the Democratic party 12 Russians, which considers the employees of the main Directorate of the General staff of the Armed forces (formerly known as GRU), recalled trump. Trump, in his words, trust the American intelligence, who believes in the intervention of Russia in election. Putin, however, according to trump, made with “great offers”.
Putin, commenting on the theme of intervention in elections, once again stressed that the Russian government never interfered and does not interfere in elections in other countries. He admitted that some Russians could sympathize with the Tramp, as he during his campaign had advocated better relations with Moscow. The Russian government cannot be held responsible for the actions of private individuals like US are not responsible for the actions of the businessman George Soros, he led the previously used example. Putin has repeatedly mentioned the name of Eugene Prigogine and firm “the Concorde”, which was investigating Muller on charges of meddling in elections. Charges that the company is “falling apart” in a us court, he said.
He recalled still working bilateral agreement of 1999 on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. “We can offer to a relevant Prosecutor has sent us an official request to conduct the interrogations of those people whom he finds guilty of wrongdoing. Prosecutors can conduct interrogations and to transmit information in the USA,” he described the possible application of the Treaty in the case of intervention in the American elections Putin. Did not rule out Putin and the presence of official representatives of the U.S. interrogation, but in response, Russia also wanted for questioning by U.S. intelligence officers, whom he considers involved in the machinations of Hermitage Capital.
(Photo: Grigory Dukor / Reuters)
Without a breakthrough
According to trump, the current summit is “the beginning of a long process” [of reconciliation], and also expressed the hope that others will follow. Putin, in turn, said that the first meeting with trump “had to wear the warm-up character” (quoted by “RIA Novosti”), the special expectations for its performance.
Neither Ukraine, nor the disarmament of the parties have not reached concrete agreements, says in a conversation with RBC researcher of the analytical center Chatham House in London Mathieu Buleg. The leaders spared, and other pressing issues. As noticed Bulag, trump in conversation with Putin did not even discuss “the case Skrypalia” and the circumstances of the crash Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines (flight MH17). “Did not the American leader to raise the issue of sanctions, limiting the talks on strengthening business ties, — said Beleg. — Trump has shown unwillingness or inability to actually bring Putin to solving complex issues. In the end, nobody got anything, except common words, and mutual agreement on the need to continue the dialogue. Just rhetoric, nothing concrete, no breakthrough.”
Analysts, demonstrated low expectations ahead of the meeting, were right, says head of the program “Russian domestic politics and political institutions,” Carnegie Moscow center Andrei Kolesnikov. “No sensationalism, no breakthroughs, we have not received” — he said in an interview with RBC. “The only question, which sounded to some specifics, is the issue of Iranian forces in Syria, but work on it was conducted prior to the summit, in particular at the meetings of Putin with Netanyahu and Arab leaders,” the analyst added.
To the summit in the Finnish capital there are plenty of posters on human rights themes. The international organization Amnesty international appealed to the President with an appeal “to put human rights at great again”, referring to the campaign promise trump to make “America great again”.
Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat has rented 300 billboards, on posters printed headings of their own materials, in which were recorded the negative side of Russian and American life. “Journalists who ask questions to Putin, are in trouble” (headline from July 9, 2002). “The Cabinet of trump selects the correct of reporters” — headline from January 28, 2016. In an editorial, the newspaper urged leaders of the U.S. and Russia will not solve Europe’s problems without its participation.
In the city centre on Sunday were meetings and pickets, with the participation of about 3 thousand people who were called on presidents to pay attention to the state of democracy and the climate.
On Monday at the presidential Palace, RBC saw people with a poster, urging President Vladimir Putin to help with Church construction in Helsinki, and the girl on the poster was written “He (trump) is not my President, but I do not care”.