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Trump calls first meeting with Putin an 'honour', 'presses' him on election meddling

US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Hamburg, Germany Jul 07, 2017, 02.32 PM (IST)

In one of the most anticipated meetings between two leaders in years, US President Donald Trump met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg. 

In their first face-to-face meeting, Trump said it was an “honour” to meet Putin and that he was looking forward to “positive things”. 

The two leaders spoke through translators in the presence of their foreign ministers for six minutes before reporters were allowed into the room for their statements. The reporters were then ushered out and the meeting continued, Reuters reported. 

The meeting went on for two-and-a-quarter-hour. 

"President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it's going very well," Trump told the media, Reuters reported. 

"We've had some very, very good talks. We're going to have a talk now and obviously, that will continue. We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned. And it's an honour to be with you."

Putin, through a translator, said: "We spoke over the phone with you several times," adding: "A phone conversation is never enough."

"I am delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr President," he said, noting that he hoped the meeting would yield results.

Election meddling

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said Trump pressed Putin on allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. 

"The president opened the meeting with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election," Tillerson told reporters after the meeting.

"They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject. The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has done in the past," Tillerson told reporters.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, told the media separately that Trump "accepted" Putin's denials of any involvement in the US election.

"President Trump said he heard clear statements from Putin that (the allegations of meddling) are not true, and that Russian authorities did not intervene, and he accepted these declarations," Lavrov said.

AFP said Tillerson refused to answer a question on Lavrov's statement. 


 

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