With the world watching closely, US President Donald Trump began a long-awaited meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a presidential palace in Helsinki on July 16. In his opening remarks, Mr Trump expressed hope for better US-Russia relations, which has remained tense and hostile for many years, saying that “the world wants us to get along.” The two leaders are expected to discuss a cluster of issues, including Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 US elections, the Syrian civil war, Ukraine and chemical poisoning of a Russian double-agent in the UK. The meeting could culminate in a cautious thaw between the two estranged powers, say experts.
Here is the text of remarks made by US President Donald Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin at their maiden summit meeting in Helsinki on July 16:
“First of all Mr President I’d like to congratulate you on a really great World Cup. One of the best ever from what everybody tells me and also for your team, itself, doing so well.
I watched quite a bit and in the United States we call it soccer and I watched quite a bit of it and I watched the entire final and the semi-finals and they were really spectacular games, but it was beautifully done so congratulations on that.
Most importantly we have a lot of good things to talk about … we have discussions on everything from trade to military, to missiles, to nuclear, to China, we’ll be talking a little bit about China – our mutual friend President Xi.
I think we have great opportunities together as two countries that frankly we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years. I’ve been here not too long but it is getting close to two years, but I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship. I’ve been saying, and I’m sure you’ve heard, over the years … that getting along with Russia is a good thing not a bad thing.
I really think the world wants to see us get along. We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90% of the nuclear – and that’s not a good thing it’s a bad thing. I think we can hopefully do something about that because it is not a positive force it is a negative force so we’ll be talking about that among other things.
And with that the world awaits and I look forward to our personal discussion which I think begins now and then we are going to meet our whole team. You have quite a few representatives as I do. We all have a lot of questions and hopefully, we will come up with answers most importantly. It is great to be with you.”
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