Trump, Putin Hold Phone Call, Discuss North Korea, Syria; Agree To Set Up Meeting

As the White House announced late on Monday, today shortly after noon. Russia's Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump held a phone conversation in which they agreed to try to meet in July and work together to try to strengthen a shaky ceasefire in Syria, the Kremlin said in a statement.

“Vladimir Putin has called for restraint and decreasing of the level of tensions on the Korean peninsula" the statement said. “It has been agreed to work jointly on a diplomatic solution that will settle the crisis.”

The Kremlin called the talks between Putin and Trump business-like and constructive, and said the two leaders had emphasized coordinating their actions to fight international terrorism, the traditional cop out when the real topic of discussion is something entirely different.

Putin and Trump decided to “activate the dialogue between the heads of the foreign ministries of both countries who will seek variants to secure the ceasefire regime, stabilize it and control it,” the statement says. “The goal is to create the background that would help launch a real peace process in Syria. This means that Russia’s foreign minister and the US secretary of state would inform their leaders about progress in this regard."

On North Korea, the Kremlin said Putin called for restraint and that the two leaders had agreed to work together to make diplomatic progress there too. The two presidents also spoke in favor of organizing a face-to-face meeting around the time of the G20 summit in Hamburg July 7-8.

Separately, in a read out from the "other side", the White House released a similar statement, which said that the two presidents agreed that "all parties must do all they can to end the violence" in Syria and that Trump and Putin also discussed working together against Islamic militants throughout the Middle East.

"The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons," a White House statement said.

The White House statement said Washington will send a representative to Syrian cease-fire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday and Thursday. "They also discussed at length working together to eradicate terrorism throughout the Middle East. Finally, they spoke about how best to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea," the statement said.