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‘Positive Chemistry’ between Trump, Putin in 1st Meeting | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin talks to US President Donald Trump during their bilateral meeting at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Hamburg- The meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Germany on Friday overshadowed the G20 summit.

The two leaders discussed for more than two hours the crises in Syria and Ukraine, terrorism and cyber security, Russian news agencies reported.

At the start of the meeting, Trump, who appeared informal and relaxed, said it was “an honor” to be with Putin.

“We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned,” Trump said.

Putin, too, described the mere fact they were meeting as positive, adding that he hoped it would “yield positive results.”

“Phone conversations are never enough definitely,” Putin said. “If you want to have a positive outcome in bilaterals and be able to resolve most international policy issues, that will really need personal meetings.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson characterized the meeting as “very constructive.”

“The two leaders I would say, connected very quickly,” Tillerson said, adding “there was a very clear positive chemistry between the two.”

“There are so many issues on the table… Just about everything got touched upon… Neither one of them wanted to stop,” he said.

Tillerson said the Russians have asked the US for proof and evidence of their alleged interference in the 2016 election, which Russia denies.

According to the Secretary of State, Trump pressed Putin on the issue and that they’d agreed to follow-up meetings.

A the G20 summit that was held in Hamburg, the major economies agreed to redouble efforts to tackle the financing of extremist groups.

The countries issued a joint statement condemning the “scourge” of terrorism funding, and praised the work already undertaken to shut off sources of finance for illicit groups.  

“We underline our resolve to make the international financial system entirely hostile to terrorist financing and commit to deepening international cooperation and exchange of information,” the statement said.  

The G20 nations urged countries to support the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a 37-member international organization that tackles terrorist financing. 

“We call on all member states to ensure that the FATF has the necessary resources and support to effectively fulfill its mandate,” they said. 

“There should be no ‘safe spaces’ for terrorist financing anywhere in the world.”