US & Russia on right track - Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that the Helsinki summit with Donald Trump was more fruitful than expected, stating that the US president is a competent man, who knows how to listen, yet stand his ground.
“I did not hold my expectations high, since it’s our first meaningful meeting. It was designed to have a warm-up nature, so that we can have more concrete talks in the future,” Putin told Channel One Russia late on Monday. “But it turned out different, our discussion proved to be really thoughtful.”
Russia’s leader described his US counterpart as a “competent man,” who is able to listen to arguments of others, yet stand his ground. “He’s a very competent man, he’s in the know, he listens. On some issues he stands by his opinions,” Putin stated.
One of examples of such issues is the nuclear deal with Iran, Putin said, adding that Russian stance on the matter remains unshaken and the landmark deal should stand.
The two leaders agreed to undertake joint efforts on fixing several outstanding problems, namely the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the issue of displaced people in Syria. On Ukraine, Russia and the US came up with “several new ideas,” which are set to be discussed at “expert level,” Putin revealed.
Moscow and Washington are on “the right track” working towards political reconciliation in Syria, Russia’s president believes. The Syrian government, however, has already taken the necessary steps towards ending the conflict and “the ball now is on the opposition’s side,” since it still hadn’t contributed to the work of the Constitutional Committee, Putin noted. The UN-backed body is expected either to amend or to draft an entirely new constitution for the country.
Putin and Trump agreed to make “stout and joint” efforts on returning the people displaced by the Syrian conflict back to their homes. The Syrian government now controls territories accommodating some 90 percent of the country’s population, Putin said, and the refugees should be encouraged to return. Large numbers of Syrian refugees are amassed in Turkey and Lebanon, and they can potentially head to Europe, the US and other countries.
“One should not wait until they start moving towards these destinations, the conditions for their return must be created,” Putin stressed.