Putin-Trump Summit: To Be Continued?

17.07.2018

The Putin-Trump summit did not resolve main problems of the Russian-American relations, but it was an important event, as the parties recognized the inadmissibility of further uncontrolled escalation between the two states. According to Valdai Club expert Dmitry Suslov, Deputy Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies of the Higher School of Economics, it is worthwhile to wait for the results of the November midterm elections in the United States before talking about the development of bilateral cooperation. These elections will be the next turning point.

The main result of the Putin-Trump summit is that the parties recognized the inadmissibility of further uncontrolled escalation of Russian-American relations and decided to work to stabilize and restore these relations.

Certainly, the parties did not agree on the so-called Russian interference in the US presidential elections in 2016 and on Ukraine, they did not reach concrete agreements on strategic stability and arms control and disarmament issues. The absence of these agreements is the reason that Russia and the US did not adopt a joint declaration, a communique that the Russian side passed to the American side. Nevertheless, the Helsinki summit is a very important event. This meeting can be regarded as the foundation for further Russian-American dialogue on a whole range of issues.

In particular, the presidents of Russia and the United States discussed the strategic stability issues. Vladimir Putin said, that Russia gave the US "a note with a number of specific proposals on this topic."

Speaking about settlement in Syria, the Russian president emphasized that it is necessary to resolve the situation around the Golan Heights and the issue of Iran's presence on the Syrian territory. I think that Russia and the United States will jointly promote a political settlement. Russia will also make efforts to ensure the security of Israel - primarily by reducing the military presence of Iran and its representatives near the border of Israel.

Of great importance is the decision to create a high-level group on trade and economic relations with the United States. Of course, this does not mean the removal of anti-Russian sanctions, but it is extremely important, because such a working group will create in the US (for the first time in the history of Russian-American relations) an economic lobby that would be interested in more constructive relations with Russia and would oppose more draconian sanctions against it.

At the press conference Vladimir Putin also recalled the possibility to establish a working group on cybersecurity between Russia and the US, about which the presidents spoke in Hamburg. There is a chance that within half a year this group will be created, since Russia took a rather constructive position on this issue and - most importantly - Putin once again stressed, that "the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into the US internal affairs, including electoral processes." It is very important.

As for the prospects of Russian-American relations, it is worth waiting for the results of the November midterm elections in the United States. They will be the next turning point. If the Republican Party does not lose in these elections and if there are no new high-profile accusations, statements about Russia's interference in the November elections, then the dialogues will be launched, and this will lead to positive results for the relations between the two countries.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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