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INTERNATIONAL

Trump, Putin start bilateral meeting in Helsinki

Helsinki, July 16: US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday and they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues.
Speaking briefly to reporters, Putin said the two leaders had kept regular contacts by phone calls and meetings in various multilateral scenarios and it was time to have an in-depth discussion of bilateral ties and urgent international affairs.

There have been so many issues that attention was now necessary, Putin said.
For his part, Trump said he would raise issues related to “trade, to military, to missiles, to nuclear, to China”. “I think we have great opportunities together as two countries that frankly, we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years,” Trump said.

Trump meets Finnish President: US President Donald Trump on Monday met his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto for breakfast here, just hours ahead of his first official summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior US officials, thanked Niinisto for his hospitality as host of the summit and praised his role in the NATO, reports Efe news.

“We had a fantastic meeting a few days ago, some of you were there, it was a very successful meeting. NATO has never been more together. People are now agreeing to pay. They’re paying more rapidly. And it’s probably never been stronger than it is today,” Trump said. He described the NATO summit, held last week in Brussels, as “tough” at first but that “turned out to be love”.

Asked about his summit with Putin, he told a reporter: “We’ll be just fine, thank you.”
Shortly ahead of the breakfast meeting, Trump had tweeted saying that his country’s relationship with Russia “has never been worse”, due to allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. (IANS)