Putin and Trump Speak for Ninety Minutes by Phone for First Time Since Last Year
May 4, 2019 (EIRNS)—On May 3rd the Presidents of the world’s two great nuclear powers had a 90-minute telephone conversation that both agreed was a productive step in moving toward collaboration on peaceful economic development. It is their first discussion since the Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2018 Buenos Aires G20 meeting, at which a scheduled full-scale summit was cancelled and replaced with only a brief informal exchange. In yesterday’s discussion, both sides emphasized their intention to pursue peaceful collaboration. Afterwards, President Donald Trump and his Press Secretary Sarah Sanders emphatically rejected all attempts by the pro-war media to uncover any conflict between the two Presidents.
The Kremlin released this statement May 3rd on the Presidents’ discussion:
“Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States of America Donald Trump, at the initiative of the American side.
“The current state and prospects of bilateral relations were discussed with a focus on economic cooperation. The two presidents spoke in favor of developing mutually beneficial trade and investment relations. They affirmed their shared commitment to step up dialogue in various areas, including on issues of strategic stability.
“Vladimir Putin informed Donald Trump of the key results of his April 25 meeting in Vladivostok with Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the D.P.R.K. Kim Jong Un, stressing that Pyongyang’s good-faith fulfillment of its commitments should be accompanied by reciprocal steps to ease the sanctions pressure on North Korea. Both parties noted the importance of consistent progress towards denuclearization and achieving long-term normalization on the Korean Peninsula.
“The situation in Ukraine was touched on in the context of the recent presidential election. Vladimir Putin emphasized that the new leadership in Kiev should take real steps to implement the Minsk Agreements, which are critical to resolving the internal Ukrainian conflict.
“While exchanging views on the situation around Venezuela, the President of Russia underscored that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country, whereas outside interference in the country’s internal affairs and attempts to change the government in Caracas by force undermine prospects for a political settlement of the crisis. It was agreed to maintain contacts at various levels,
“The two heads of state expressed satisfaction with the business-like and constructive nature of the conversation.”
At the White House, news media questioned Trump about his call with Putin, when the President appeared at a press briefing with Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini yesterday, after they had had a meeting. Asked about the Venezuela conflict, over which Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo seem to want a military intervention, President Trump said,
“He [Putin] is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela. And I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid. Right now, people are starving. They have no water, they have no food. This is, Mr. Prime Minister, one of the richest countries in the world 20 years ago, and now they don’t have food and they don’t have water for their people. So we want to help on a humanitarian basis.”
Trump made no mention of either Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro or the neocon-backed would-be usurper Juan Guaidó.
On arms control, Trump said,
“We’re talking about a nuclear agreement where we make less and they make less, and maybe even where we get rid of some of the tremendous firepower that we have right now. We’re spending billions of dollars on nuclear weapons.... We need that, but they are also—and China is, frankly, also—we discussed the possibility of a three-way deal instead of a two-way deal. And China—I’ve already spoken to them; they very much would like to be a part of that deal. In fact, during the trade talks, we started talking about that. They were excited about that.... So, I think we’re going to probably start up something very shortly between Russia and ourselves.... And I think China will be added down the road.”
On the “election meddling issues,” Trump said, “We discussed it. He actually sort of smiled when he said something to the effect that it started up as a mountain and ended up being a mouse. But he knew that, because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever.” As Trump continued, three reporters cut him off, “Did you tell him not to meddle? Did you ask him not to meddle? Did you tell him not to meddle in the next election?” After pointing out their rudeness, Trump said, “We didn’t discuss that,” and reiterated the areas of mutual cooperation they had focused on.
Asked about Press Freedom Day, he said that he was happy to see the front page of the New York Times report on the spying against his campaign, which he called “a story bigger than Watergate.” Otherwise, he referred to the fake news about his administration, and said, “When you have stories that are purposely written badly ... that’s not free press, that’s the opposite of free press.”
In his tweets on his discussion with Putin, Trump wrote yesterday:
“Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia. As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing. We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!”
“Very good call yesterday with President Putin of Russia. Tremendous potential for a good/great relationship with Russia, despite what you read and see in the Fake News Media. Look how they have misled you on ‘Russia Collusion.’ The World can be a better and safer place. Nice!”
Sara Sanders reported briefly to the press on the Trump/Putin dialogue, repeating many times that the President’s concern was in humanitarian assistance to Venezuela. Asked about their discussion of the Mueller report, she said, they agreed, “It’s over.... There was no collusion—something I’m sure both leaders were aware of for a very long time. Now they moved on.”
A reporter asked about House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s most recent, but, as the reporter said, “conciliatory,” deadline for release of the full report, Sanders said, “There’s probably no choice left to him but to be conciliatory,” because there is nothing there. She then explained that she was shocked that, after all of their threats and demands, neither Nadler, nor his “Democratic colleagues have taken the time to read the less redacted copy that is sitting down the hall from them.”
When asked, as the President was, what was being done about Russian “meddling,” Sanders answered, “This administration, unlike the last one, takes meddling in our election process very seriously.”