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Putin-Trump conversation may give head-start to Russia-US dialogue, says expert

January 29, 23:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The director of the Moscow-based Institute for U.S. and Canada Studies told that it's important that the two Presidents reached agreement on a meeting and preparations for the meeting are underway

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U.S. President Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump

© EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. Saturday's telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump gave the head-start to a possible dialogue between Russia and the U.S., Dr. Valery Garbuzov, the director of the Moscow-based Institute for U.S. and Canada Studies told TASS.

"Quite possibly, that's the beginning of a future dialogue," he said. "It's important that they (the two Presidents) reached agreement on a meeting and preparations for the meeting are underway and, quite obviously, there'll be detailed scrutiny of all the problems under debate.

"Then understanding and clarification of positions will take place on both sides," Dr. Garbuzov said. "At this moment, it's important to start a rebuild of the spirit of trust, as the absence of trust between the two countries' leaders crosses out any other hypothetical efforts."

He recalled that Presidents Putin and Trump had taken up "almost the whole list of major issues in their conversation most remarkably, in a positive tonality in what concerns joint actions or solutions of some kind."

"I don't rule out they discussed some discouraging things, too, but the very fact the two sides did not publicize them is quite reassuring," Dr. Garbuzov said. "If dialogue begins, if both sides support it and if the two leaders have the willingness to speak to each other and to clear out some positions, this already means half the work will be done."

He recalled that all the U.S. presidents traditionally traditionally make important visits in the first days and weeks of their term of office. The first such visit is usually made to Europe and it last long enough.

"Trump is doing an offbeat thing, however," Dr. Garbuzov said. "He is holding intense telephone talks and invites others to visit him and is obviously preparing for an expansive trip."

"I think Europe will be his destination and he needs a portfolio of carefully considered proposals rather than the contour of certain ideas to go there with," he said. "Trump won't put off the scrutiny of these problems for too long and he will seek meetings with partners and will be building a line at collaboration and resolution of the issues he marked off during his election race."

"His meeting with Putin isn't far away because it would serve his own interests to have this meeting as early as possible," Dr. Garbuzov said.

When TASS asked him to comment on Trump's initiatives regarding security zones in Syria, he said the proposal looked very nice but it was still unclear what exactly Washington was offering and whether or not this would be a joint U.S.-Russian action.

Apart from Russia, Iran and Turkey have presence in Syria now and in light of it the format that Trump had in mind is unclear, since the American side has not detailed its proposals yet.

Specifically, it is unclear what in line with U.S. logic will make up a security zone and whether troops will be introduced thee and what countries will commit them. Nor is there any clarity on what functions these troops might have, whether or not they would engage in combat operations, who would provide logistics to them or control the airspace, Dr. Garbuzov said.

"All these details must be worked out by the people who will supervise them on the ground," he said. "And Russia and the U.S. don't have any practical contacts in this aspect today and don't undertake any coordinated actions.".

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