World

Trump-Putin call: Everything will be positive, says Russian official

PTI Washington | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 28, 2017

Pedestrians cross the street behind a billboard showing a pictures of US president-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Danilovgrad, Montenegro, November 16. 2016. REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

President Donald Trump’s first conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin since taking office is causing concern among European allies and consternation among fellow Republicans about the future of US penalties imposed on Moscow.

Trump was non-committal before today’s scheduled telephone call about whether he was considering lifting the economic sanctions.

“We’ll see what happens. As far as the sanctions, very early to be talking about that,” he told reporters.

Trump made those remarks Friday alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose country _ as part of the European Union _ also has punished Russia for its provocations in Ukraine. Voicing the view of many in Europe, May said, “We believe the sanctions should continue.”

Vice President Mike Pence was expected to join the call, but not others that Trump planned on Saturday with the leaders of Japan, Germany, France and Australia.

Two Republican senators Arizona’s John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Ohio’s Rob Portman, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee also warned the White House about easing any punishments on Moscow and they pledged to turn the sanctions into law.

“I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course,” McCain said in a statement. “If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law.”

Portman said lifting the sanctions “for any reason other than a change in the behaviour that led to those sanctions in the first place would send a dangerous message to a world already questioning the value of American leadership and the credibility of our commitments after eight years of Obama administration policies.”

Russia’s security chief, Nikolai Patrushev, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying he had high hopes for the call. “Everything will be positive,” Patrushev said.

Published on January 28, 2017
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