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Story of two leaders who forget to smile

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HELSINKI, July 16, 2018 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday, and they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues. (Xinhua/Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa/IANS) by .
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday, and they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues. (Xinhua/Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa/IANS)

Speaking briefly to reporters, Putin said the two leaders had kept regular contacts by phone calls and meetings in various multilateral scenarios and it was time to have an in-depth discussion of bilateral ties and urgent international affairs….reports Asian Lite News

HELSINKI, July 16, 2018 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday, and they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues. (Xinhua/Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa/IANS) by .
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday, and they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues. (Xinhua/Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa/IANS)

US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday and they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues.

Speaking briefly to reporters, Putin said the two leaders had kept regular contacts by phone calls and meetings in various multilateral scenarios and it was time to have an in-depth discussion of bilateral ties and urgent international affairs.

There have been so many issues that attention was now necessary, Putin said.

For his part, Trump said he would raise issues related to “trade, to military, to missiles, to nuclear, to China”.

“I think we have great opportunities together as two countries that frankly, we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years,” Trump said.

Trump previously said he has “low expectations” for the summit, while the Kremlin stressed the most important thing is to establish channels of dialogue in order to improve bilateral ties.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss Syria, where the US aims to restrain the Iranian military presence and hopes that Russia can exert more influence over Tehran in that regard.

The agenda will likely include the possible extension of the New START Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty, which is set to expire in 2021.

Moscow has repeatedly slammed the deployment of US missile systems in eastern Europe, while Washington has condemned Russia’s alleged violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, under which the signatories are obliged to eliminate all short- and medium-range nuclear and conventional missiles.

BELGIUM-BRUSSELS-NATO-SUMMIT by .
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during a press conference on the second day of the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on July 12, 2018. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan) (lrz)

Ukraine is another item on the agenda, although the conflict in the east of the country between the Kiev army and the pro-Russian rebels backed by Moscow has been entrenched for months and the last agreed ceasefires have been ineffective.

Helsinki has beefed up security for this event, with increased police patrolling around the city.

Part of the downtown will be closed on Monday, everyday life of ordinary people has been affected and public transport are disturbed, reports Xinhua news agency.

The police said 16 or more demonstrations were registered before and during the summit, and on Sunday around 2,500 people got together at the city’s Senate Square to protest against the summit and Trump.

According to Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori, it was the two presidents themselves that decided to meet in the city, adding that he had no expectations over the summit but only provided suitable circumstances for it, and the city was not worried about the protests at all.