Putin, Trump discuss relations between countries in a phone call, the first since July

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the state of relations between their two countries in a phone call instigated by Putin, the White House said on Monday.

The official reason for the call, according to both sides, was for Putin to thank Trump for what White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said was “information the United States provided that helped foil a potential holiday terrorist attack in Russia.”

CNN reports that “Vladimir Putin thanked Donald Trump for the information shared via the special services that helped prevent terrorist acts in Russia,” the Kremlin-provided statement said. “Several matters of mutual interest were discussed. An agreement was made to continue bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism.” The call — the first between Putin and Trump since July — was initiated by Russia.

The White House issued a readout of the call on Monday, saying that Putin called Trump to “thank him for information the United States provided that helped foil a potential holiday terrorist attack in Russia.”

“Both Presidents committed to continuing counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “The Presidents also discussed the state of relations between the United States and Russia and future efforts to support effective arms control.”

According to a statement issued by the Federal Security Service of Russia, two Russian nationals were detained Friday based on information provided by the US. They had intended to carry out terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg on the New Year’s Eve, the Federal Security Service said.

Some new tensions have arisen between the two countries.

Trump on Thursday warned Russia, Syria and Iran against killing civilians in Syria’s Idlib province.

Syrian and Russian forces have intensified their bombardment of targets in Idlib, the last significant rebel pocket of Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to recapture it.

In another potential strain, Russia joined with China on a draft proposal to the U.N. Security Council to seek a lifting of some U.N.-backed sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The Trump-Putin call came as the State Department announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus from Jan. 3-7.

Via CNN / Reuters 

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