White House: Trump-Putin Phone Call Was 'Very Good'
Leaders signal a new effort to cooperate on Syria
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2017 4:20 PM CDT
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President Donald Trump walks from the Rose Garden back to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, following a presentation ceremony of the Commander-in-Chief trophy to the Air Force Academy football team.    (Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – President Trump and Russian President Putin signaled the prospect of increased cooperation in Syria Tuesday, in what the White House called a "very good" phone discussion that included a focus on setting up safe zones in the war-torn nation, the AP reports. The White House said the leaders also agreed to try to set up their first in-person meeting in July, on the sidelines of an international summit in Germany. Tuesday's call marked the first time Trump and Putin have spoken since the US launched missiles against an air base in Syria, an attack that outraged Russia. The US military action sparked new tensions between Washington and Moscow, with top US officials sharply condemning Putin's continued support for Syria's Bashar Assad.

But the leaders appeared to again be edging toward closer cooperation following Tuesday's call. The Kremlin said Trump and Putin agreed to bolster diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syrian civil war, which has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions more displaced. The White House announced it would send a top State Department official to Russian-led talks on Syria that begin Wednesday in Kazakhstan. "President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence," the White House said. The Kremlin characterized the call as "business-like" and "constructive."

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