Trump, Putin Speak Over the Phone

President-elect wants 'strong and enduring relationship' with Moscow

Donald Trump
AP

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone, according to statements released on Monday.

Putin congratulated Trump on his "historic" win and the two discussed a number of issues, Trump's presidential transition team said Monday afternoon. Trump also expressed his interest in cultivating a "strong and enduring relationship" with Moscow, according to the statement.

"During the call, the two leaders discussed a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues and the historical U.S.-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years," the Trump transition team said. "President-elect Trump noted to President Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia."

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Separately, the Kremlin released a statement disclosing that Putin wished Trump "success in implementing his election programme and said he was ready to develop a dialogue of partnership with the new administration on the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs."

Both sides agreed that current relations between Moscow and Washington are "unsatisfactory" and looked toward "normalizing" relations and cooperating on issues including the ongoing conflict in Syria, according to the Kremlin.

"Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump both spoke of the need to work together in the struggle against the number one common enemy–international terrorism and extremism. In this context, they discussed issues related to solving the crisis in Syria," the Kremlin said in the statement. "It was agreed to maintain contact by phone and arrange a meeting in person in the future, with preparations to be conducted by representatives of both sides."

Relations between the United States and Russia have broken down over the latter's continued intervention in Ukraine and the civil war in Syria. While the United States and Russia have engaged in talks to establish a ceasefire in Syria to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid, the efforts have been unsuccessful.

While Russia, an ally of Bashar al-Assad's regime, intervened militarily in Syria last year in a purported effort to target ISIS in the war-torn country, Moscow's warplanes have in several cases bombed areas held by U.S.-backed rebels.

Trump previously expressed willingness to build positive relations with Putin during the presidential election campaign. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, accused Trump of being a "puppet" of the Russian president.

Trump was declared president-elect last week and has been in contact with several foreign leaders since his victory.