Russia calls for Trump-Putin summit

MOSCOW • A summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is "extremely important" to safeguard global stability after Mr Trump's decision to quit the Iran nuclear agreement, says a top Russian diplomat in charge of relations with the US.

"A summit meeting, of course, could seriously help to limit its negative consequences and give diplomacy another chance," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.

Mr Ryabkov, who was travelling to Teheran yesterday for meetings with top Iranian officials, represented Russia at the six-party talks with the Islamic Republic.

The world's two biggest nuclear powers remain in a standoff over a year after Mr Trump's election raised the prospect of better ties.

The US leader proposed a meeting when he called the Russian President in March to congratulate him on re-election, inviting him to Washington. But no progress has been made on setting a date as relations deteriorate amid US sanctions imposed over claims of meddling in 2016's US presidential vote.

Mr Trump's announcement on Tuesday that he is quitting the landmark 2015 deal to limit Iran's nuclear activities and reimposing financial sanctions on Teheran has sparked fears of more chaos in the Middle East. Mr Trump's political opponents say it risks dragging America into a war, and European allies reacted with dismay after fighting to salvage the agreement.

Mr Putin warned of the threat of "aggressive nationalism" and "claims to exceptionalism" at a World War II victory parade in Red Square on Wednesday.

"All humankind and countries need to recognise that the world is very fragile," he said.

Russia negotiated the nuclear framework with Iran together with France, Germany, Britain, the US and China. The European Union, Russia and China all say they remain committed to the agreement.

A US-Russia summit would be a "signal" to the entire government apparatus in both countries about readiness for dialogue, Mr Ryabkov said.

"It's necessary from all points of view, especially since the presidents in their phone conversation underlined the need to resolve accumulated problems in the sphere of strategic stability," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'Russia calls for Trump-Putin summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe