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Putin-Trump summit gets underway

The meeting began nearly an hour later than planned

MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump have begun bilateral negotiations in Helsinki’s presidential palace.

The meeting began nearly an hour later than planned, a TASS correspondent reported. Initially, it was planned that the Russian leader would arrive at 13:00, while the negotiations would start at 13:20.

After Trump’s arrival (about 30 minutes after the Russian president), the two leaders shook hands with each other and proceeded to the palace’s Gothic Hall where the negotiations began.

The talks are scheduled to take 90 minutes but, actually, there are no exact timeframes.

Trump told Putin that their talks will be focusing on a wide range of issues, involving trade, military cooperation and also relations with China.

"Most importantly we have a lot of good things to talk about," Trump said.

The two heads of state will talk about "everything from trade to military, from missiles to China. We’ll be talking a little bit about China. Our mutual friend president Xi," Trump said.

Putin said he is glad to meet his US counterpart and wants to discuss with him relations between the two countries and global problems.

"We maintain regular contacts - we have spoken over the phone and had several meetings on the sidelines of various forums. But, obviously, it is high time to discuss in detail our bilateral relations and various painful topics of the global agenda - there are quite a lot of them," the Russian leader said at the beginning of his talks with Trump.

He said he was glad to see his US counterpart "on the hospitable Finnish soil."

The Russian and US leaders are holding their first full-format meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. The two presidents have already had a number of personal contacts. Putin and Trump held their first talks on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty summit in Germany’s Hamburg in July 2017. They had another opportunity to exchange views during the APEC summit in Vietnam in November 2017, but no full-fledged meeting took place. However, Putin and Trump talked on the sidelines of the forum and adopted a joint statement on Syria.

Since Trump assumed the presidency, the two leaders have held several phone conversations, including the latest one on March 20.