Trump, Putin hold first talks since US air strikes on Syria

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/5/3 23:08:39

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday moved to ease the tension from US air strikes in April against Syria, expressing a desire for a Syrian cease-fire and safe zones for war refugees.

The two leaders spoke by phone for the first time since US relations with Russia were strained by the US attack on a Syrian airfield. The two leaders set the foundation for what could be their first face-to-face meeting in July.

Statements from both the White House and the Kremlin suggested the two leaders had a productive conversation that included North Korea and fighting Islamist militants throughout the Middle East.

Trump ordered 59 cruise missiles launched in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that the US blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The attack prompted protests from Russia, which blamed Syrian rebels for the use of outlawed nerve gas and said Assad was not at fault.

The White House said the two leaders agreed that "all parties must do all they can to end the violence" in Syria.

"The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons," a White House statement said.

The Kremlin said Putin and Trump agreed to step up dialogue on finding ways to strengthen a cease-fire and give it stability.

The two leaders also discussed tensions throughout the Asia-Pacific. "Vladimir Putin called for restraint and for the level of tension to be reduced," the Kremlin said.


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