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White House Aides’ Trips to Moscow Signaled Putin-Trump Phone Call

May 6, 2019 (EIRNS)—Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, in their 90-minute telephone discussion May 3, obviously addressed a wide range of areas where cooperation is necessary; preceding trips to Moscow by two White House aides may point to areas where it is already at issue.

A frequent contributor who goes by the name of “Harper” wrote to retired Col. Pat Lang’s blog “Sic Semper Tyrannis” on May 4: “Before the Trump-Putin phone call, two Administration officials traveled recently to Moscow to confer with counterparts. Fiona Hill, the National Security Council director for Russian Affairs visited around the same time that the President’s envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun made an April 17-18 visit to the Kremlin to discuss U.S.-Russian collaboration to revive the stalled Korea denuclearization talks.”

Biegun’s trip may be an indication that Putin’s role is now essential to U.S.-D.P.R.K. negotiations over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Following the lack of an agreement reached at the Hanoi summit, North Korea has declared National Security Advisor John Bolton “uncharming and stupid” and repeatedly denounced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. North Korea’s own chief negotiator, Kim Yong Chol, officially lost his role in further talks. Biegun remains potentially to prepare a further summit meeting, but President Putin can negotiate credibly with both leaders. In his April 27 summit with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader demonstratively asked Putin to convey Kim’s view on the negotiations to the American side.

Hill’s visit, according to reports in a number of Russian media, involved the situations in Ukraine, and also Venezuela. Both are obviously open to change now, if the period of “Russiagate”—in which the United States and Russia steadily worked to place military and strategic obstacles in each other’s way—can now be ended.

Today Radio Free Europe is reporting Pompeo’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Arctic Council conference in Finland, concentrated on Venezuela, and both described it afterwards as constructive. Trump had already said, after the May 3 telephone call, that both he and Putin wanted to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela without military intervention.

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