President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for over two hours on Friday, after an initial plan to meet for just 30 minutes. The meeting took place behind closed doors, so most of the topics discussed are still secret, but the little bit of information starting to come out seems to indicate it was a productive two hours for cooperation between the two countries.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was able to report on some of the progress made during the meeting, saying that the United States and Russia reached a ceasefire agreement in Syria, and that he sees no long-term role for the Assad family and the Assad regime in Syria. What that involves specifically is still in question.
They also spoke on North Korea, he said, saying they “had a pretty good exchange.” Tillerson agreed that Russia has a very different approach from the United States, and that Russia has economic ties there, but was quick to say that Russia also wants the communist regime denuclearized.
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Sit Down to Fraught Meeting: ‘It’s an Honor to Be with You’ https://t.co/v9CgVcoyT6
— People Magazine (@people) July 7, 2017
Putin himself mentioned to Russian state media that Ukraine was brought up, and that a lot of the discussion revolved around terrorism and cybersecurity.
Tillerson mentioned how the two leaders connected very quickly and that there was a very positive chemistry. Melania Trump entered the meetings about an hour into them to ask if they wanted to finish up, but they were so engaged in the talk that they stayed an hour more.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) July 7, 2017
Tillerson also talked about how the talks were forward focused and that both presidents looked toward the future. They wanted to put the past behind, including election meddling allegations, and focus on mutual progress in areas where the two countries seem to be inextricably linked.
“The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past,” said Tillerson. Tillerson mentioned that Putin wanted “proof” of any of his country’s interference with the U.S. elections.
— CNN (@CNN) July 7, 2017
The Trump-Putin meeting was one of the main events of this year’s G-20 summit. Although the G-20 has a broad agenda, the focus remains fixed on these two men.
The only time the two leaders have personally communicated prior to this G-20 summit was by phone.