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Monday 10 December 2018

Trump arrives in Finland for summit with Putin

The US president flew in from Scotland, where he and his wife, Melania, spent the weekend at his Turnberry golf resort.

Donald Trump will meet Vladimir Putin on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA)
Donald Trump will meet Vladimir Putin on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA)

By Associated Press Reporter

US President Donald Trump has arrived in Finland for his closely watched summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump landed in the capital city, Helsinki, late Sunday.

He planned no public appearances until Monday, when he heads to the Presidential Palace for breakfast with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Trump and Putin meet later Monday at the palace.

The president flew in from Scotland, where he and his wife, Melania, spent the weekend at his Turnberry golf resort.

Trump heads into the summit with little clear agenda other than to strengthen his personal rapport with Putin, which he thinks is crucial to improving relations between Washington and Moscow.

Finland has a long legacy of hosting US-Soviet and US-Russian summits because of its geographic location and perceived neutrality.

Earlier he had said he was keeping expectation low for the summit, saying “nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out”.

The president also told CBS News in an interview that he “hadn’t thought” about asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in Washington on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets in the 2016 US election.

But after being given the idea by his interviewer, President Trump said: “Certainly I’ll be asking about it.”

The United States has no extradition treaty with Moscow and cannot compel Russia to hand over citizens.

He also described the European Union  as a “foe”.

“I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade,” Trump said, adding that “you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe”.

The president taped the interview at Turnberry the day before he was set to leave for Helsinki.

The president declined to discuss his goals for the summit – “I’ll let you know after the meeting,” he said – but said he believed such get-togethers were beneficial in and of themselves.

He cited his historic meeting last month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as well as meetings he has had with China’s Xi Jinping.

In the interview, Trump also blamed the Democratic National Committee for “allowing themselves to be hacked” by Russians trying to help him win the 2016 election.

Press Association

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