MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump agreed to stabilize and deepen bilateral cooperation during a phone conversation on Saturday, the Kremlin said.
“The two sides expressed willingness to work actively together to stabilize and develop Russian-American cooperation on a constructive basis, as equals, and to mutual benefit,” the Kremlin said in a statement issued after their first phone conversation since Trump’s inauguration last week.
Putin and Trump highlighted the priority of joint efforts in the fight against the main threat of international terrorism during the call, which was widely scrutinized to see if there will be a thaw in the soured relations during the Obama administration.
“The Presidents called for establishing a real coordination of US and Russian actions to defeat the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria,” the statement read.
They also stressed the importance of restoring mutually beneficial trade and economic ties between business communities of the two countries, which could further boost development of bilateral relations.
Russian and American people see each other positively, said the two leaders, who agreed to maintain regular personal contacts. Both sides are working to set possible date and venue for a Putin-Trump meeting.
The presidents discussed and agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iranian nuclear program, the Korean Peninsula issue and the Ukrainian crisis.
“The conversation took place in a positive and businesslike manner,” said the Kremlin statement.
Russian ties with the United States and other NATO members experienced a record low during the Obama administration, mainly due to the Crimea issue, the Ukrainian crisis and the hacking accusations.
In the last weeks of Obama’s presidency, the United States expelled Russian diplomats and expanded economic sanctions.
Putin was among the first leaders of major powers to send congratulations to Trump after the result of the US presidential election was announced in November.
During a call in mid-November, Putin and the then US president-elect agreed that the current ties between Russian and the United States “could not get worse” and vowed to help “stimulate a return to pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation.”