President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in a phone call Tuesday to work together to end the civil war in Syria, according to the White House, with both men saying the suffering in that country has gone on for too long.
The relationship between the two leaders has come under close scrutiny amid Democrats’ allegations that Mr. Trump conspired with Moscow to impact the U.S. presidential race.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin also discussed tensions on the Korean peninsula and the threat of the Islamic State in the Middle East, said the White House.
The White House described the conversation about Syria as “a very good one” that included discussion of establishing safe zones or de-escalation zones to help achieve lasting peace.
The civil war in Syria, now in it’s sixth year, has become a flashpoint in U.S.-Russia relations, with Russia supporting the Bashar Assad regime and the U.S. backing anti-Assad rebels.
U.S. involvement exalted last month with missile strikes on an Assad regime airfield in retaliation for the government’s deadly chemical weapon attack on Syrian civilians.
The call on Syria came a day before a new round of cease-fire talks that the U.S. will attend in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The Kremlin gave a slightly different readout of the phone call, stressing how Mr. Putin pressed Mr. Trump to de-escalate tensions with North Korea.
“Vladimir Putin has called for restraint and decreasing of the level of tensions,” the Kremlin said. “It has been agreed to work jointly on a diplomatic solution that will settle the crisis.
The White House said only that “they spoke about how best to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.”
On Syria, the Kremlin said the two countries would work toward a common goal at the peace talks in Astana.
“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 U.S. secretary of state would inform their leaders about progress in this regard,” said the Kremlin.