Putin to Trump: Let’s be Friends. Trump Agrees.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Putin and Trump both spoke of the need to work together in the struggle against the number one common enemy – international terrorism and extremism.

By Rakesh Raman

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday.

According to a Kremlin statement, Putin once again congratulated Trump on his victory in the presidential election and said he was ready to develop a dialogue of partnership with the new administration on the principles of equality, mutual respect, and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs.

It is believed that Putin was referring to Russia’s dealings with Ukraine which are supposed to be Russia’s domestic affair. The Obama administration had a particular opposition to Russia’s interference in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, Obama had urged combined Russian-separatist forces to fulfill their Minsk obligations, especially adhering to the cease-fire and ensuring that the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has full access to all areas of eastern Ukraine, including the international border.

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Putin also expects Trump to help reduce NATO’s influence on Ukraine, as last month the 28-nation alliance had stepped up its surveillance over Ukraine.

NATO had warned Russia, saying that “In response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in March 2014, NATO started reconnaissance flights over Eastern Europe to monitor the situation in neighboring Ukraine.”

During his election speeches, Trump had criticized NATO’s operations and praised Putin despite America’s strained relations with Russia. Trump’s opponents call him a puppet of Putin.

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Trump’s open support for Putin was seen as a threat to American democracy. Trump’s opponents had even launched an online project which warned that voting Trump / Pence in 2016 could lead to a Putin / Trump world in 2017.

During the Monday conversation Putin and Trump not only agreed on the absolutely unsatisfactory state of bilateral relations but also expressed support for active joint efforts to normalize relations and pursue constructive cooperation on the broadest possible range of issues.

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According to the Kremlin statement, they emphasized the importance of establishing a reliable foundation for bilateral ties by developing the trade and economic component.

Both leaders noted that next year it will be 210 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States, which itself should encourage a return to pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation in the interests of both countries, as well as global stability and security.

Putin and Trump both spoke of the need to work together in the struggle against the number one common enemy – international terrorism and extremism. In this context, they discussed issues related to solving the crisis in Syria.

It was agreed to maintain contact by phone and arrange a meeting in person in the future, with preparations to be conducted by representatives of both sides, Kremlin informed.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government award-winning journalist and runs free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

Photo courtesy: Trump / Twitter

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Rakesh Raman