VIETNAM – U.S President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met briefly on the sideline of a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Vietnam on Saturday and agreed on the need for a political solution to Syria’s conflict.
A joint statement on Syria followed their first meeting since July at a time that U.S.-Russia relations have been battered and Trump is haunted by allegations that Putin meddled in 2016’s election that brought him to the White House.
Their statement called for a political solution to Syria’s conflict and said they would continue joint efforts to fight Islamic State.
Trump said it would save “tremendous number of lives”.
“We did it very quickly,” Trump told newsmen aboard Air Force One after leaving the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the resort of Danang for Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital.
“We seem to have a very good feeling for each other, a good relationship considering we don’t know each other well.”
Talking after their meeting, Putin described Trump as “a well-mannered person and comfortable to deal with”.
“We know each other little, but the U.S president is highly civil in his behaviour, friendly.
“We have a normal dialogue but unfortunately little time.
“Scheduling and unspecified protocol issues were to blame for the fact that a mooted sit-down meeting did not happen in Danang,’’ he said.
Trump said they had two or three very short conversations.
They were seen chatting amicably as they walked to the position where the traditional APEC summit photo was being taken at a viewpoint looking over the South China Sea.
Pictures from the APEC meeting also showed Trump walking up to Putin as he sat at the summit table and patting him on the back.
They also shook hands at the summit dinner on Friday evening.
Although the White House had said no official meeting was planned, it had also said it was possible they would bump into each other.