New Year messages from leaders around the world

Putin wants 'constructive dialogue' with US

Revellers waiting for the fireworks display as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Sydney Harbour. Apart from fireworks, the celebrations include an aerial performance and a concert celebrating aboriginal culture.
Revellers waiting for the fireworks display as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Sydney Harbour. Apart from fireworks, the celebrations include an aerial performance and a concert celebrating aboriginal culture.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW • Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for "pragmatic cooperation" in his New Year wishes to United States President Donald Trump, the Kremlin said.

In a statement on the Russian President's New Year wishes to world leaders on Saturday, the Kremlin said Mr Putin told Mr Trump that "a constructive Russian-American dialogue is especially needed to strengthen strategic stability in the world".

Mr Putin added that "mutual respect" should be "a base to develop relations" between the two countries. "This would allow us to move towards building pragmatic cooperation, orientated on the long term," the statement quoted him as saying.

Mr Putin also sent messages to other heads of state, including the leaders of former Soviet countries, France's Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Angela Merkel and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In his wishes to the Syrian leader, with whom he met during a surprise visit to Russia's Syrian airbase Hmeimim earlier last month, Mr Putin "expressed sincere hope that key changes for the better will continue in Syria in the new year".

The statement added that Mr Putin told Mr Assad that "Russia will continue to show all kinds of support to the Syrian Arab Republic in order to protect its state sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity".

Russia became involved in the Syrian conflict in September 2015, when it began an aerial campaign in support of Mr Assad's military. Mr Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of the Russian army from Syria earlier last month.

Moscow hopes to host Syrian government and rebel group representatives at the end of this month in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2018, with the headline 'Putin wants 'constructive dialogue' with US'. Print Edition | Subscribe