Trump confronts Putin on election hacking

2017-07-07 20:47
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany. (Saul Loeb, AFP)

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany. (Saul Loeb, AFP)

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Hamburg - President Donald Trump opened his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday by raising US concerns about Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He said Putin denied being involved.

Trump's decision to confront Putin directly over election interference fulfilled ardent demands by US lawmakers of both parties that the president not shy away from the issue in his highly anticipated meeting with Putin. Trump has avoided stating unequivocally in the past that Russia interfered, even as investigations proceed into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russians who sought to help him win.

Putin's denial of culpability notwithstanding, he and Trump agreed that the issue has become a hindrance to better relations between the two powers, said Tillerson, who attended the more-than-two-hour meeting along with Russia's foreign minister. Tillerson said the discussion about the election meddling was "robust and lengthy".

Stable place

The Russians meanwhile asked the US for proof and evidence of their alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Tillerson said the two leaders had agreed to continue the discussion, with an eye toward securing a commitment that Russia won't interfere in US affairs in the future.

The two presidents also discussed a ceasefire deal for southwestern Syria that was reached by Russia and the United States.

Though the US and Russia have held conflicting views on Syria in the past, Tillerson said Russia had an interest in seeing the Mideast nation become a stable place.

The Putin meeting came midway through a hectic, four-day European visit for Trump, who addressed thousands of Poles in an outdoor speech in Warsaw on Thursday. He met in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the summit host and had dinner with two Asian allies - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in - to discuss North Korea's aggression.
Read more on:    g20  |  vladimir putin  |  donald trump  |  germany  |  syria conflict  |  2016 presidential elections

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