Putin gets some love from Xi and Trump

by Garry Watts June 9, 2018, 20:29
Putin gets some love from Xi and Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump listens during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2018.

"They should let Russian Federation come back in because we should have Russian Federation at the negotiating table", he said.

Putin has been driven closer to China by a sharp decline in relations with the West after Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. The interview was recorded on Thursday - before Trump's call for Russian Federation to be readmitted to the Group of Seven countries - and published on Saturday.

New Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Friday he would try to promote "moderate" positions on trade tariffs at a Group of Seven summit where the contentious issue looks set to dominate talks among leaders.

"The introduction, for example, of restrictive tariffs on steel, on aluminum, not only for Europe but also for Canada and Mexico, in essence these are also sanctions..."

Tension has been building over a year of policymaking that has distanced the United States from traditional allies, including by Trump's decisions to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the Russian Federation investigation as a political "witch hunt" and "hoax".

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that Trump was turning US foreign policy "into an worldwide joke".

In response to Brilev's question as to whether he was concerned about the possibility that even if friendly relations were established between the two presidents, the USA may still put forward conditions unacceptable for Russia, Putin said that "it does not work with anyone".

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The commander in chief plans to skip the climate change and environment portion of the G7 and leave early for Singapore for his historic meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

On the eve of the summit, Trump lashed out on Twitter at Macron and Trudeau, who earlier Friday criticized Trump's trade stance a joint news conference in Ottawa.

Trump's comments on agriculture, his imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs, as well as broader disagreements on trade, climate change and the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, are setting the stage for some tense G7 talks.

Trump's deteriorating relationships with Trudeau and Macron - both of whom he has previously lavished with praise - come as the US finds itself increasingly isolated from key allies over Trump's isolationist policies, including his decisions to pull out of the Paris climate agreement and to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

Trudeau and his fellow G7 leaders will try to persuade Trump to reverse the duties when they meet him during the summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who was fiercely critical of Trump as recently as Thursday in Ottawa, posted a video of his meeting with the president on Friday that contained a caption out of a Hallmark greeting card.

Durbin in a tweet mockingly quoted Trump saying of himself, "Nobody has been tougher on Russian Federation than Donald Trump", before adding: "Now watch President Trump grovel at the feet of our adversary and punish our strongest allies", a reference to recent tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

But Tusk also said the tensions within the G7 now are a serious challenge to its unity and effectiveness. "It it doesn't happen, we come out even better", he tweeted on Friday morning.

Trump insisted the Canada-U.S. relationship is as good or better than it has ever been, and he even quipped that there might be a way the badly divided G7 could reach a consensus in their final communique on Saturday.

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