Trump says discussed Middle East with Putin, made progress on conflicts
Speaking from the White House a day after meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Trump said that US-Russia relations have never been in a worse place, but that relations had “gotten substantially better” since meeting the Russian leader and could improve more in the future.
Trump said he and Putin discussed several Middle East subjects, “starting with the civil war in Syria and the need for humanitarian aid.” Syria was discussed in the context of “long-term security of Israel,” the US president added.
“We also spoke of Iran and the need to halt the nuclear ambitions and destabilizing activities taking place in Iran,” he said, pointing out that recent US rejection of the 2015 nuclear deal has “had a major impact on Iran. It’s substantially weakened Iran.”
Trump said he was hoping that Tehran “will call us and we’ll maybe make a new deal.”
He also said that he discussed with Putin the prospect of reducing nuclear weapons worldwide.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it was ready to work with the US on all areas that Trump and Putin discussed on Monday, in particular on solving the crisis in Syria and working to reduce nuclear weapons arsenals.
But some lawmakers are not happy about Trump’s willingness to work with Russia and what they see as his failure to hold Moscow accountable for alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Some lawmakers suggested passing resolutions in Congress to show support for US intelligence agencies and US allies who have been criticized by Trump in recent weeks.
Trump, however, confirmed on Tuesday that he has “full faith” in US intelligence agencies and said he misspoke in Helsinki when he said he saw no reason why Russia would meddle in the US election.