Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Trump to Consult Merkel Dealing with Putin, Ukraine | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55369115

US President Donald Trump walks with television personality Steve Harvey (R) and businessman Greg Calhoun after their meeting at Trump Tower in New York, US., January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

United States President Donald Trump is expected to consult Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US officials said on Friday.

“My expectation is that they’ll have a very positive, cordial meeting,” said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump and Merkel are scheduled to meet next week after sometimes pointed disagreements in recent months.

They are expected to discuss Germany’s level of defense spending for the NATO alliance, the Ukraine conflict, Syrian refugees, the European Union and a host of other issues, said three senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters.

Merkel will visit the White House on Tuesday for talks with Trump and a joint news conference in what will be their first face-to-face meeting since the new US president.

Trump has long expressed desire for warmer US relations with Russia but some of his top Cabinet officials remain skeptical.

“The president will be very interested in hearing the chancellor’s views on her experience interacting with Putin,” said another official.

“He’s going to be very interested in hearing her insights on what it’s like to deal with the Russians.”
Trump will also ask for Merkel’s advice on what role the United States can most helpfully play in ongoing diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has pitted Ukrainian forces against Russian-backed separatists.

“We are heartened by the German government’s determination to reach NATO’s benchmark of committing 2 percent of GDP to defense by 2024,” the official said.