Donald Trump plays down speculation over lifting of Russia sanctions

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Washington | Published: January 28, 2017 5:29:21 PM

Ahead of his first telephone call to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump has played down speculation that he may lift sanctions on Russia, saying it was "too early" to talk about them.

Ahead of his first telephone call to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump has played down speculation that he may lift sanctions on Russia, saying it was "too early" to talk about them. (AP/Reuters)Ahead of his first telephone call to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump has played down speculation that he may lift sanctions on Russia, saying it was “too early” to talk about them. (AP/Reuters)

Ahead of his first telephone call to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump has played down speculation that he may lift sanctions on Russia, saying it was “too early” to talk about them. At a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday, Trump told reporters that it is too early to talk about the lifting of sanctions.

Trump indicated his interest in warmer ties with Russia even as May urged him to continue with sanctions until Moscow implements the international agreement on Ukraine.”As far as the UK is concerned, on sanctions for Russia in relation to their activities in the Ukraine, we have been very clear that we want to see the Minsk Agreement fully implemented,” May told reporters in response to a question.”We believe the sanctions should continue until we see that Minsk Agreement fully implemented and we’ve been continuing to argue that inside the European Union,” May said.

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Trump will speak with the Russian leader later today.”As far as the sanctions, very early to be talking about that. But we look to have a great relationship with all countries, ideally. That won’t necessarily happen, unfortunately probably won’t happen with many countries,” Trump said.”But if we can have, as we do with Prime Minister May and the relationship that we’ve all developed and even in the short relationship that we just developed just by being with each other and have lunch…we’ve really had some very interesting talks and very productive talks,” he said.

“But if we can have a great relationship with Russia and with China and with all countries, I’m all for that. That would be a tremendous asset,” Trump said.Trump said he does not know Putin, but would like to have good relationship with him, “As far as, again, Putin and Russia, I don’t say good, bad or indifferent. I don’t know the gentleman. I hope we have a fantastic relationship. That’s possible and it’s also possible that we won’t. We will see what happens,” Trump said.

The US President said he will be representing the American people very, very strongly and very forcefully.”If we have a great relationship with Russia and other countries, and if we go after ISIS together, which has to be stopped — that’s an evil that has to be stopped — I will consider that a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump said.

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