WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump spoke with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on the telephone for more than an hour on Tuesday about the conflict in Syria, the anti-terrorism fight in Central Asia and the Middle East and the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
In a statement, the White House said that the two leaders reaffirmed their support for the joint declaration they both adopted during the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) summit in Danang, Vietnam, in which they committed themselves to work to definitively defeat the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria.
According to the White House, Trump and Putin “stressed the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254” to “peacefully resolve the Syrian civil war, end the humanitarian crisis, allow displaced Syrians to return home, and ensure the stability of a unified Syria free of malign intervention and terrorist safe havens.”
The conversation came shortly after Putin on Monday received Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi, a visit that was organized in secret but reported on Tuesday.
The White House statement did not allude to the efforts to push for a new peace process in Syria that, according to the Kremlin, Putin revealed on Tuesday to Trump and other international leaders, including Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, with whom he also spoke by telephone.
Upon leaving the White House for his Palm Beach, Florida, residence for the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump briefly told reporters about his talk with Putin, whom he said spoke very seriously about bringing peace to Syria.
In addition, Trump and Putin also discussed the “importance of fighting terrorism together throughout the Middle East and Central Asia and agreed to explore ways to further cooperate in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist organizations,” the White House said.
Furthermore, they spoke about “how to implement a lasting peace in Ukraine” as well as “the need to continue international pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear weapon and missile programs.”
On Tuesday, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on 13 entities charged with engaging in maritime and terrestrial shipping with North Korea, one day after Trump returned Pyongyang to the US list of countries considered to be “state sponsors of terrorism” after it had been removed from that list almost a decade ago.