Trump, Putin Shake Hands Ahead of Closely-Watched G20 Meeting
Albanian Daily News
Published July 7, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany in this still image taken from video, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Steffen Kugler/Courtesy of Bundesregierung/Handout via REUTERSU.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, a veteran businessman and a former spy, shook hands on Friday ahead of the most highly anticipated face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Trump has said he wants to find ways to work with Putin, a goal made more difficult by sharp differences over Russia's actions in Syria and Ukraine, and allegations Moscow meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The two men met during an informal gathering of G20 leaders at the start of the summit, with the U.S. president reinforcing their handshake by patting the Russian leader on the arm.
In a video of the encounter, Trump was later shown patting Putin on the back. Both men smiled. They are to hold a formal meeting later in the day at 3:45 p.m. local time, when every facial expression and physical gesture is likely to be analyzed.
"I look forward to all meetings today with world leaders, including my meeting with Vladimir Putin. Much to discuss," Trump wrote in a tweet on Friday. "I will represent our country well and fight for its interests!"
The meeting is slated to begin shortly after a G20 working session on climate and energy starts. Trump, who has angered world leaders with his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris accord on climate change, will likely have to leave that session early to make the Russia meeting.
Some fear the Republican president, a political novice whose team is still developing its Russia policy, will be less prepared for their sit-down than Putin, who has dealt with the last two U.S. presidents and scores of other world leaders.
"There's nothing ... the Kremlin would like to see more than a (U.S.) president who will settle for a grip and a grin and walk away saying that he had this fabulous meeting with the Kremlin autocrat," Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee, said in an interview on MSNBC.
As investigations at home continue into whether there was any collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, the U.S. president has come under pressure to take a hard line against the Kremlin.
Moscow has denied any interference and Trump says his campaign did not collude with Russia.