On Saturday President Trump engaged in a series of phone calls with five world leaders to discuss diplomatic relations, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.
The call with Russian president Vladimir Putin was closely watched on both sides of the Atlantic, as Presidents Trump and Putin discussed such topics as stabilizing relations, restoring trade ties, the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, and situations in Ukraine and the Koreas, CNN reported.
The call with Putin comes after both presidents recently expressed desires to strengthen relations after a series of sanctions were lowered on Russia during the Obama years. The Russian statement on Trump’s call did not mention if Obama’s sanctions were discussed.
President Trump also spoke to Japanese leader Shinzo Abe about the U.S. pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a wide-ranging trade deal that Abe supported. The president reportedly told Abe that he was more interested in bilateral trade deals that were easier to manage and alter as the situation demands, the Washington Times said.
The pair arranged a meeting in Washington for next month.
In his conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the White House said Trump and Merkel agreed on the “fundamental importance” of NATO and made plans for an in-person visit in the near future, voanews.com noted.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described his conversation with the U.S. leader as frank, constructive, and practical, Australia’s ABC reported.
“We discussed the vital importance of the United States’ continued strong presence in our region,” Turnbull told his nation.
“We agreed that presence has been an absolutely essential foundation of the peace and stability that has enabled the remarkable growth and prosperity — the remarkable economic growth we have seen over the last 40 years,” the Australian leader added.
President Trump is also set to speak to French President Francois Hollande, a leader who has been sharply critical of the newly elected American leader.
In past calls, the pair discussed ISIS, climate change, and the situation in Ukraine, according to Agence France-Presse.
But Hollande has made a series of critical statements about Trump since the early November call. For instance, at the end of January, Hollande insisted Europe must oppose Trump with a “firm” response, and only days ago Hollande said Trump would be a “challenge” for Europe’s leaders.
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