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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, June 18, 2018

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With three days to go before one of the most crucial meetings in international politics - Trump and Putin lay out agenda

Relations between the U.S. and Russia

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - In what is soon becoming one of the most awaited political meetings in the world - all eyes are on the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

The meeting between both the leaders, that is set to be held on the sidelines of this week's Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Germany was confirmed both by Kremlin and the White House.

On Tuesday, the White House said that President Trump will hold an official bilateral meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20.

The meeting between the two leaders will be the first full-fledged bilateral meeting between a U.S. and Russian leader in two years, when former President Barack Obama held tense talks with Putin. 

The meeting, that has soon become one of the most highly anticipated ones in international politics, will also be the first time Trump will come face to face with the Russian leader since his election.

Further, the bilateral meeting comes at a tense time for both the countries as the bilateral relations have been affected by the investigations being led by a special counsel into Russia's alleged role in the 2016 election and the possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The American President has denied the probe, calling it a “witch hunt” and has repeatedly denied any improper coordination or contact with Russian officials.

Experts, trying to ascertain the topics that might come up in the discussions - said that the two leaders are likely to discuss the fight against terrorism, the war in Syria and the crisis in Ukraine.

In addition, it is not yet known if Trump will raise the issue of Russia's meddling during the meeting. 

The civil war in Syria, many suggest will become an important topic discussed at the meeting.

While Russia backs the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the conflict, the U.S. supports rebel groups.

The terrorist groups in the region, including ISIS have, however, been targeted by both nations.

Addressing a press briefing last week, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said, "There's no specific agenda. It's really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about.”

Ever since assuming Presidency, Trump has repeatedly expressed a desire to foster warmer relations between the U.S. and Russia.

He has pushed for increased cooperation between the two countries in the fight against the Islamic State. 

On Monday, the Kremlin confirmed Putin’s first meeting with Trump saying it will take place on Friday in Germany.

Russian news agencies quoted Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov as saying on Tuesday that the two leaders will meet in Hamburg, without revealing any other details.

However, last week, Ushakov said his government showed “unusual flexibility” by not retaliating in December when the former U.S. President Obama confiscated the two compounds, in New York state and Maryland, and expelled 35 Russian diplomats as punishment for Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

On Tuesday, in a separate statement, the Kremlin said Putin would raise the issue with Trump when the two meet in Hamburg.

It added that the Kremlin expected Putin would convey the need to find the “most rapid resolution” on the issue, which it described as an “irritant” in Russian-U.S. relations.

Ushakov further urged Washington in a statement, to “free Russia from the need to take retaliatory moves.”

He pointed out that Russia has demonstrated a remarkable restraint by refraining from a tit-for-tat response, emphasizing that now, its patience was running out.

On the sidelines of the summit, Trump is reportedly also expected to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the Hamburg event.

BNN

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