Trump-Putin meeting dominates G20 in Germany; Syria ceasefire forged as Trump proposes cyber-security alliance despite Russian election hacking

     

    Americas: United States

    Europe / Asia: Russia

     

    Trump-Putin meeting dominates G20 in Germany

     

    The 2017 meeting of the G20 -- the world richest countries -- in Hamburg, Germany was overshadowed by a sideline meeting between United State President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  

     

    In that meeting, Russia denied playing any meddlesome role in the 2016 election, according to remarks to the media by United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.  He said, “The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past." 

     

    Meanwhile Tillerson's counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that Trump  accepted Putin’s denial of Russian interference. He said,  “President Trump said that he had heard the clear statements from President Putin about this being untrue, that the Russian leadership did not interfere in the election, and that he accepts these statements."

     

    Both the Trump administration and Russia appeared geared towards moving on -- and past -- hacking/interference claims that Russia has never admitted to committing and for which Trump has also expressed skepticism, despite findings from his own intelligence agencies.  As noted by Tillerson, “There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two. There was not a lot of relitigating things from the past.”  Trump himself appeared to back Putin while disputing conclusions of the United states  intelligence community, as he said, “nobody really knows; nobody really knows for sure” who was behind the campaign to influence the 2016 election result.

     

    The bilateral meeting, which lasted more than two hours, resulted in Trump calling for "imepentrable" cyber security cooperation between his country's and Putin's.  The irony of that suggestion was not lost on aghast observers noting that there were prevailing reports from United States intelligence agencied that Russia hacked into the electoral system of the United States to influence the 2016 presidential contest.  Perhaps due to such criticism, Trump appeared to back down somewhat from this suggestion, and redirected attention to the multilateral Syria ceasefire agreement instead. Via his favorite social media outlet, twitter, Trump  tweeted: "The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't-but a ceasefire can,& did!" 

     

    The meeting between the two men was described widely as a "warm" encounter.  Trump himself described the encounter more fulsomely as  “a tremendous meeting.”

     

     


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