The meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 Summit!
The G20 Summit is on in Germany and the event was most in news for the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, all the attention at the G20 summit was focused on this meeting and what President Trump would say to President Putin.
The two world leaders spoke for more than two hours, although the scheduled meeting was only for 30 minutes. Their meeting was subjected to a lot of commentary, from both the supporters and detractors of President Trump.
Trump has been accused by his opponents of being closely involved with Putin, and Putin has been accused of interfering in the US elections in 2016, to Trump’s benefit.
The biggest talking point in the meeting was whether Trump would bring up the issue of Russia’s interference in the US elections. Everyone wanted to see how Trump would go about doing that and how Putin would react. There was a lot of speculation on what was said and what wasn’t said between the two world leaders.
US secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the meeting, “I think there was just such a level of engagement and exchange, and neither one of them wanted to stop. Several times I had to remind the president, and people were sticking their heads in the door. And they sent in the first lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn’t work either.”
There was actually a lot of relief among US officials that the meeting went off quite well, and there was nothing controversial that was said by the often erratic President Trump. One news website said, “Trump survives the Putin meeting.”
Mr. Tillerson hinted at what the two world leaders had talked about. He said, “The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.”
Mr. Tillerson added that the meeting was “rightly focused on how do we move forward from something that may be an intractable disagreement at this point. There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two. There was not a lot of relitigating things from the past.”
Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said, “President Trump said that he had heard the clear statements from President Putin about this being untrue, that the Russian leadership did not interfere in the election, and that he accepts these statements.”
But not everyone is happy. Thomas Countryman, a former top ranking US diplomat said, “It’s an indication of how rapidly our standards are falling when we’re reasonably pleased that President Trump has not made an obvious error.”
Mr. Countryman added: “It certainly was the minimum that any US president should have done in this situation. I’m glad he brought it up. What we don’t know – and may never know – is what he replied when Vladimir Putin looked him in the eye and falsely said: ‘It was not us.’”
A top Russia expert Alina Polyakova explained why Trump had to bring up the issue of Russian interference in US elections. She said, “There was political awareness that they had to bring it up. Not doing so would have been politically deaf and suspicious in a way.”
Author: Raghav Hegde – India