HAMBURG: US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first face-toface meeting on Friday at a G20 summit marred by violent protests and a rift between America and its Western allies over climate change and trade.
“We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everyone concerned,” Trump said. “It’s an honour to be with you.”
Putin told the US leader: “I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally Mr President. And I hope as you have said, our meeting will yield concrete results.”
The blockbuster encounter could sway issues ranging from the North Korean crisis and conflicts in Syria and Ukraine to US-Russian disarmament treaties, world trade and global warming, analysts said. Normally a ripple-free event in the diplomatic calendar, this year’s G20 summit in the German port city of Hamburg promises to be one of the stormiest in the forum’s history. Trump’s “America First” approach on trade and his climate-sceptic stance are straining relations with longstanding allies, especially in Europe. And his tough response to North Korea’s missile programme — an issue where Russia and China are urging calm — throws a further volatile ingredient into the mix.
Outside the heavily guarded G20 conference hall, protesters wreaked havoc as demonstrators torched cars, smashed shop windows, fired flares at police helicopters and even slashed tyres on vehicles belonging to the Canadian delegation.