United States President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin
United States President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin

Hoping for an 'extraordinary relationship' with Russia: Trump

ANI | Updated: Jul 16, 2018 17:44 IST

Helsinki [Finland], Jul 16 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace here on Monday, marking the official beginning of the summit between the two leaders.
As the two presidents exchanged pleasantries, both sat down, with Trump starting to make statements.
Praising Russia for successfully hosting the FIFA World Cup tournament, Trump said, "I would like to congratulate you on a very great world cup. It was one of the best ever. I watched the entire final and the semifinals. They were spectacular games."
The US President noted that he would be talking about "good things" during his one-on-one talks with Putin.
Trump added: "We have a lot of good things to talk about. We will have discussions on everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear (weapons) to China. We will be talking a little bit about China, our mutual friend, President Xi (Jinping). I think we have great opportunities together. Frankly, we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years. I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship."
He further said that the world wanted Washington D.C. and Moscow to get along.
Calling nuclear weapons a "bad thing," Trump said, "We are two great nuclear powers. It's a bad thing. Hopefully, we can do something about it. It's not a positive force, it's a negative force.
After Trump's statements, he and Putin shook hands before the media. The two leaders are now holding a 90 minute one-on-one talks.
The meeting took place in the background of allegations of Russia's meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. It also came after the US Department of Justice indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for conspiring to hack into the Democrats' computers and steal documents and interfering in the election campaign, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
Earlier, the summit was delayed by almost an hour after Putin made a late arrival to Helsinki from Moscow. Trump, who arrived in the Finnish capital earlier, was lodged in a hotel in the city and was waiting for his Russian counterpart's arrival.
Ahead of the summit, Trump in a tweet blamed Washington D.C.'s foolishness and stupidity for the poor state of relations with Moscow.
He also criticised special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation stemming from the alleged election meddling by Russia in the 2016 US presidential election, calling it a "rigged witch hunt."
Taking to his Twitter handle, Trump wrote: "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"
Taking an aim at his predecessor Barack Obama, the US President tweeted: "President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn't happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!"
Earlier on Friday, President Trump said that he will "absolutely" ask his Russian counterpart about Moscow's alleged involvement in the US presidential election. "I will absolutely bring that up," Trump said of Russian meddling in the 2016 election during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May last week.
This is the fourth time a summit is being held between the presidents of both countries in Helsinki.
The first summit was held in 1975 between then US president Gerald Ford and Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev in the Finnish capital, amid the heightening tensions between the two superpowers during the Cold War period, according to The Washington Post.
In the meeting, the two discussed strategic weapons. However, no specific agreements were reached on limiting nuclear arms. Also, then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger implied "it would be incorrect to claim any particular achievements" on restricting nuclear weapons.
In 1990, former US president George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, who was the last Soviet leader, before the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 met in Helsinki.
A month before this summit, Iraq had invaded Kuwait which led to political instability in the Middle East. The Iraq-Kuwait war prompted the Bush administration to slap economic sanctions on Baghdad, the report from The Washington Post said.
During the meeting, Bush and Gorbachev agreed for further strict actions on Iraq, if Baghdad did not leave Kuwait.
Bush also supported Gorbachev's economic and political reforms of the crumbling Soviet Union. The former also raised the issue of possible military intervention in the Iraq-Kuwait war.
In 1997, then US president Bill Clinton and Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin met in Helsinki, in what was the third summit between Washington D.C. and Moscow, as per The Washington Post's report.
It was also the first meeting between the two presidents of both countries after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
In the meeting, Clinton and Yeltsin pressed for greater cooperation and discussed limiting nuclear arms and inclusion of countries under the former Soviet Union into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
The two leaders also agreed to negotiate a new arms-control treaty in a bid to cut down a number of strategic warheads.
Calling the meeting a "historic progress", then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the summit helped in promoting the reduction of nuclear arms, economic cooperation with Russia and improvement of security situation in Europe.
It is to be noted that relations between the US and Russia are greatly strained due to the crisis in Ukraine, Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2015, differences regarding Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war, and the alleged Russian meddling in 2016 US presidential election.
Washington D.C. has repeatedly condemned Moscow's actions in Ukraine and imposed sanctions over the same since 2014. (ANI)