Wednesday 20 September 2017

We will join US in fight on global terror, says Putin

Russia’s President Putin. Photo: Reuters
Russia’s President Putin. Photo: Reuters

Carla De Wintours in Moscow

Vladimir Putin has called for a new era of co-operation with the United States under Donald Trump's presidency, in an annual state of the nation speech that struck a conciliatory but uncompromising tone on foreign policy.

In an address to government ministers, MPs, and top Kremlin officials, Mr Putin said Russia and the United States are "jointly responsible for international stability and security" and that a good relationship was in the interests of the "whole world."

"We are ready for co-operation with the new American administration," Mr Putin said in the Kremlin yesterday.

"It's important to normalise and develop our bilateral ties on an equal and mutually beneficial basis.

"We share responsibility for ensuring global security and stability and strengthening the non-proliferation regime.

"We hope to join efforts with the United States in the fight against a real rather than dreamt-up threat - global terrorism. Our servicemen in Syria are fulfilling that task."

He added that Russia would stand up for its own interests, but had no intention of getting involved in any geopolitical confrontations.

"We are not seeking and have never sought enemies. We need friends," Mr Putin said during his annual state of the nation address in Moscow.

Mr Putin praised Russia's armed forces in Syria demonstrating the country's ability to mount military operations overseas, and acknowledged that Russian special forces have "suffered losses" since Moscow entered the war on the side of Bashar al-Assad's government 14 months ago.

The speech focused largely on Russia's flagging economy and domestic issues, with Mr Putin acknowledging that economic recovery over the past year had been patchy but promising that the situation would improve.

Russia's economy is on track to contract for the second year in a row in 2016, pressured by low oil prices and Western sanctions.

Mr Putin hit out at Western coverage of Russia, criticising what he called "myths about Russian aggression" and the "so-called doping scandal" as particularly egregious attacks on the country's reputation.

Irish Independent

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