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Trump says US must work with Russia

China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-11 07:03

Truce brokered by Washington, Moscow holding in part of Syria

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that "it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia" after his lengthy meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Germany. But he is still avoiding the question of whether he accepts Putin's denial that Russia was responsible for meddling in last year's election.

In a series of tweets the morning after returning from a the G20 Summit in Germany, Trump said he "strongly pressed" Putin twice over the alleged Russian meddling during their meeting on Friday.

Trump said that Putin "vehemently denied" the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that Russian hackers tried to sway the election in Trump's favor. But Trump would not say whether he believed Putin, tweeting only that he's "already given my opinion".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov first told reporters in Germany on Friday that Trump had accepted Putin's assurances that Russia hadn't meddled an assertion Putin repeated on Saturday after the summit. Putin said he left the meeting thinking that Trump had believed his in-person denials.

"He asked questions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was satisfied with the answers," Putin said.

US officials said Trump did not want the alleged interference to prevent him from working with Russian government on other issues, including the civil war in Syria.

In a show of US-Russian cooperation, officials have announced that the two sides had brokered a cease-fire in southern Syria that went into effect on Sunday. Trump tweeted that the deal "will save lives."

The partial cease-fire should be expanded to all of Syria if it is to be successful, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

"The agreement can be fruitful if it is expanded to all of Syria and includes all the area that we discussed in Astana talks for de-escalating the tension," Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

The United States, Russia and Jordan reached the "de-escalation agreement", which appeared to give Trump a diplomatic achievement at his first meeting with Putin at the summit.

Major Issam al-Rayes, spokesman of the Southern Front coalition of Western-backed rebel groups, said "a cautious calm" continued into the evening.

"The situation is relatively calm," Suhaib al-Ruhail, a spokesman for the Alwiyat al-Furqan faction in Quneitra, said earlier.

The two sides also agreed to create what Trump described in a tweet as "an impenetrable Cyber Security unit" to ensure that "election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded".

Ap - Reuters

Trump says US must work with Russia

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday.Steffen Kugler / Reuters

(China Daily 07/11/2017 page12)

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