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Putin: We had nothing to do with US elections
July 17, 2018, 8:27 am

The Russian and US delegations led by Putin and Trump met for a working lunch in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018 [PPIO]

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed his summit with US President Donald Trump as a first step to clearing tensions between their two countries and denied any role in the 2016 presidential election.

“Of course, numerous problems persist, and we have failed to clear the backlog in full, it was impossible to do this, but I believe we have made the first important step in that direction,” he told reporters.

He said that the two leaders focused on how to improve relations in the wake of allegations that Russian intelligence meddled in the US elections, and following a grand jury indictment of Russians on charges of hacking email accounts of numerous American lawmakers.

Putin said that both countries could not afford to be on a Cold War footing of confrontation as in the 20th Century.

He said that both countries needed to pool their resources together to combat transnational crime, the spread of radical ideologies and terrorism and together address environmental challenges.

Later, during an exclusive interview with Fox News, Putin reiterated that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 US presidential election.

“Interference with the domestic affairs of the United States … do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?” Putin told Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

The Russian president ridiculed such a notion.

Putin also denied a recent remark made by senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi that Moscow may be blackmailing Trump. He said that Trump was of no interest to Russia until he announced he would run for president.

The Syria quagmire

Putin also highlighted that Russia and the United States could play a large role together to end the conflict there and solving the humanitarian tragedy there. But neither leader provided any details on any agreement regarding Syria.

“Russia and the United States can undoubtedly assume leadership on this issue and organize interaction in overcoming the humanitarian crisis and help refugees return to their homes,” Putin said.

Putin and Trump both committed to securing the border between Israel and Syria as well as the occupied Golan Heights.

“The south of Syria should be brought to the full compliance with the treaty of 1974 about the separation of forces — about separation of forces of Israel and Syria,” said Putin.

“This will bring peace to Golan Heights, and bring a more peaceful relationship between Syria and Israel, and also to provide security of the State of Israel.”

Read more: Was the summit merely political theater?

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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