On July 16, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held their first-ever summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland. Trump said they discussed the Syrian crisis at length and added that US-Russia cooperation there would save hundreds of thousands of lives.
According to a US administration official cited by Reuters, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton will discuss Iran’s role in Syria during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, in Geneva next week.
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that this scheduled meeting was “a follow-up to the Helsinki summit to discuss a range of important national security issues.”
According to the senior US official, the two leaders agreed in principle during their summit in Helsinki that Iran should exit Syria; however, Moscow viewed that as a tough task.
The US official also told Reuters that Trump and Putin discussed arms control, including the New START treaty and the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which banned nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 km (300 to 3,400 miles).
However, the official stressed that the leaders did not agree on a way forward on arms control, Reuters reported.
The US official said Trump has briefed Bolton, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo and US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman about his one-on-one meeting with Putin.
Bolton traveled to Russia in June. During his visit, he Bolton held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The sides exchanged views on pressing international issues, including the situation in Syria and Ukraine.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment in early July on the claims that Bolton had asked Putin to make Iran withdraw its forces from Syria.
Both Russia and Iran, alongside Turkey, are the guarantor states of the Syrian ceasefire regime. There are Iranian-backed armed groups fighting on the side of Damascus in the war. Syrian President Bashar Assad has said, however, that no Iranian troops are operating on the Syrian territory.
Headquartered in Moscow Russia, Sputnik is a news agency with offices around the world. Sputnik covers global political and economic news for an international audience. Launched in November 2014 by the Russian media group Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik works in more than 30 languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Chinese, and more.