Trump and Putin agree to work to improve ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump have discussed future efforts to improve US-Russian ties during a telephone call.

“President-elect Trump noted to President Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia,” Trump’s office said in a statement.

The Kremlin said that Putin congratulated Trump on his victory and expressed Russia’s readiness to “establish a partner-like dialogue with the new administration on the basis of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in domestic relations.”

Trump’s office said that Putin called him to “offer his congratulations on winning a historic election”.

“During the call, the two leaders discussed a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the US and Russia, strategic economic issues and the two nations’ relationship that dates back over 200 years,” it said.

In its statement, the Kremlin added that both Putin and Trump agreed that US-Russian ties are in an “extremely unsatisfactory” condition now.

“They spoke for active joint work to normalise ties and engage in constructive cooperation on a broad range of issues,” it said, adding that Putin and Trump emphasised the need to develop trade and economic cooperation to give a strong basis to US-Russia relations.

Putin and Trump also agreed on the need to combine efforts in the fight against their No. 1 enemy – “international terrorism and extremism” – and discussed the settlement of the Syrian crisis in that context, according to the Kremlin.

How to fight side-by-side in Syria, where Russia supports President Bashar Assad and the US supports rebels fighting against him and the Islamic State, has been one of the key sticking points between President Barack Obama and Putin.

It said that Putin and Trump agreed to continue phone contacts and to plan a personal meeting in the future.

Trump’s statement said he looked forward to a “strong and enduring relationship” with Russia.

During the campaign, he outlined few specifics as to how he would go about it. President Barack Obama began his presidency with a goal to “reset” ties with Russia, but they eventually plunged to the lowest point since the Cold War over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Throughout the campaign, the Kremlin insisted that it had no favourites and rejected the claims of interference in the US election. Russia’s state-controlled media, however, made no secret of their sympathy for Trump.

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