U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin met for over two hours on Friday afternoon, discussing interference in US elections and ending with an agreement on curbing violence in Syria.
It is understood that Trump pressed Putin on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections at their face-to-face meeting during the G-20 summit meeting, but the Russian president denied.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters after the session that the ceasefire was a “defined agreement” and could be a precursor to further cooperation in Syria.
“The president opened the meeting by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in 2016 election. Putin denied such involvement, as he has done in the past,” Tillerson said during an off-camera briefing today in Hamburg, Germany.
“The two leaders agreed this is of substantial hindrance. They agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the U.S. and our democratic process as well as other countries.”
“This is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria,” Tillerson added. The leaders had a “lengthy discussion of other areas in Syria where we can work together.”
Trump and Putin focused on ways to move past Russia’s alleged interference in the US election, said Tillerson, who was in the meeting with the leaders.
“They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject,” Tillerson said. “The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.”
Tillerson said both leaders want to move on.
“I think what the two presidents, I think rightly, focused on is how do we move forward,” he said. “How do we move forward from here?”
Talks focused on how the two countries “secure a commitment that the Russian government has no intention” of interfering in future elections, Tillerson added. “How do we have a framework where we have capability to judge what is happening in the cyberworld.”
According to Russian state-run Sputnik media, the leaders discussed the situation in Ukraine and Syria, the fight against terrorism and cybersecurity.
“I had a very lengthy conversation with the President of the United States, there were a lot of issues such as Ukraine, Syria, other problems, some bilateral issues,” Putin is quoted as saying after the session was complete.