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Trump, Putin Unlikely to Reach Major Agreements Soon

Friday 9 November 2018

MOSCOW (TASS) — US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin are unlikely to reach major agreements at their Paris meeting on November 11, Practice Head of Eurasia at the Eurasia Group consulting and advisory firm Clifford Kupchan told Russian news agency TASS.

“The passing of US midterm elections just days before the meeting won’t lead lawmakers to give any less scrutiny to the outcome of the leaders’ bilateral meeting in Paris”, said Kupchan, who is also an expert with the Valdai International Discussion Club. “Congress’s proposals of new sanctions legislation in the wake of the Helsinki summit made clear their opposition to the president changing policy toward Russia without consultation”, he noted.

Nevertheless, in his view, the expert pointed out:

There is some benefit in just having the conversation.

[…]

Amid the lack of high-level dialogue between Washington and Moscow over key areas of tension, a summit such as this could facilitate future substantive negotiations. The summit could serve, for example as a setup for possible meetings at the G20 in Argentina in late November, as well as in Washington sometime in 2019.

[…]

Overall, it is unlikely that the two presidents will walk out of this meeting with major agreements in hand.

[…]

The environment isn’t where it needs to be for a breakthrough in the bilateral relationship, a problem that was on full display at the Helsinki summit in July where warm words were quickly followed by new problems in the relationship. Russia’s position on disputed issues has changed little recently.

On November 5, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that instead of full-fledged talks, the presidents of Russia and the US would hold a brief meeting in Paris on November 11. In this regard, he cited the heavy agenda of events marking the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice. According to Peskov, Putin and Trump may discuss their next meeting that could take place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina’s Buenos Aires, scheduled to be held on November 30 to December 1.

The Finnish capital of Helsinki hosted the first full-fledged talks between Putin and Trump on July 16.

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