Trump, Putin hold first official telephone call

Trump, Putin hold first official telephone call
The two presidents are reported to have discussed the possibility of lifting sanctions and collaborating militarily against Islamic State in Syria.
2 min read
29 January, 2017
President Trump surrounded by his senior staff as he talked with President Putin [Getty]
Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held their first official phone call on Saturday afternoon, discussing many issues related to the Middle East.

During the 50-minute conversation, the two presidents discussed - among other issues - the Israeli-Palestine conflict, Iran's nuclear programme and a joint assault against Islamic State.

"After speaking with Chancellor Merkel for 45 minutes @POTUS is now onto his 3rd of 5 head of government calls, speaking w Russian Pres Putin," tweeted White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer.

The two heads of state also discussed easing the United States' sanctions against Russia and improving relations between the two countries.

Trump has previously talked of the benefits of lifting sanctions against Russia, saying that it could help curb global nuclear proliferation.

"They have sanctions on Russia — let's see if we can make some good deals with Russia," Trump told The Times of London on January 16.

"For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that's part of it."

Speaking at a press conference with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Trump said that it was too early to start talking about lifting sanctions, however.

The Russian foreign minister said on Wednesday that he was 'cautious' with regards improving relations between the two country, pointing to the long history of distrust between the two nations.

"We have no illusions that there will be a new 'reset' with the United States, we have no naive expectations," Lavrov said.

It was reported that Trump and Putin briefly discussed opportunities to collaborate in bombing missions against IS in Syria.

"The Presidents have spoken in favor of establishing a real coordination between the US and Russian actions in order to defeat ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Syria," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Trump has spoken numerous times in favour of improving relations with Moscow in recent years.

"I don't know Putin, but if we can get along with Russia that's a great thing," he told Fox News.

"It's good for Russia; it's good for us; we go out together and knock the hell out of ISIS, because that's a real sickness."