US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for more than two hours Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, amid the growing threat of a military clash between the world's two biggest nuclear powers, whether in Syria or Eastern Europe. Putin also apologized on behalf of himself and Trump for keeping Abe waiting for the meeting, as the Putin-Trump talks lasted more than an hour longer than planned.
But when he spoke at a news conference in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, Trump only offered a tepid endorsement of findings by intelligence officials that Russian Federation was behind the election meddling. "Many issues accrued, including Ukraine, Syria and other problems, as well as some bilateral issues", Putin said.
Mr Trump is meeting a long list of world leaders, including Prime Minister Theresa May and President Xi Jinping of China, on Saturday as he wraps up his second trip overseas. But it's tough to know what Trump actually believes.
The US President robustly raised allegations that the Russians hacked last year's election, according to secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
With the world watching closely for signs of their emerging rapport, Trump and Putin shook hands firmly but briefly as reporters were allowed in for part of their meeting. The U.S. also incurred Russian ire by agreeing to sell patriot missiles to Poland, and in a highly praised speech in Warsaw on Thursday, Trump specifically called out Russia for its subversive activities worldwide. Seated in front of a Russian flag, Putin slightly hunched in his chair and rubbed his fingers together as he listened to Trump, who appeared informal and relaxed and said it was "an honor" to be with Putin.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were also present at the meeting. He had disappointed USA allies by declining to affirm that commitment during his first trip to Europe in May.
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"We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russian Federation, for the United States and for everybody concerned", Trump said.
Trump held staff meetings instead, Grisham said, and asked to be kept regularly updated on the unrest, expressing concern in a tweet.
Alongside the different versions of the much-anticipated encounter between the leaders of the world's two most heavily armed nuclear powers, it appeared the two sides had managed to pull out something of genuine value - a ceasefire in south-west Syria that would be guaranteed by Russian Federation, the United States and Jordan.
"The goal of this meeting was to form a personal relationship with Putin that leads to agreements down the road". USA officials were blindsided by the Russian state news agency's release of photos of the visit, which showed Trump and the Russians in jovial conversation.
But U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat and vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said that whatever Trump told Putin would have carried more weight if the president hadn't "equivocated" about who was behind the election interference.