Trump declares, ‘Putin is a competitor, not an enemy’

US President hopes that Vladimir Putin will become his friend 'someday' 

Brussels: US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he sees his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as a “competitor”, not an “enemy”, days before they meet for a high-stakes summit. Trump said he would be discussing the civil war in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, as well as allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

“I will be asking about meddling, your favourite question,” he said during a press conference on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels. “All I can do is say ‘did you?’ and ‘don’t do it again’. He may deny,” Trump said.

Don blames Obama, again!

Some news reports and analysts have suggested Trump might be prepared to concede the territory to Putin in exchange for cooperation in Syria. “What will happen to Crimea from this point on? That I can’t tell you, but I’m not happy about Crimea.”

Trump blamed Barack Obama “who allowed it to happen”. He said that he expected to discuss NATO military exercises near the Russia border in the Baltic Sea, which Moscow considers provocative. “We’ll be talking about it,” the President said.

Progress on NATO defence spending

Donald Trump hailed ‘tremendous progress’ on defence spending commitments by NATO members. ‘We made a tremendous amount of progress,’ the President said after emergency talks with fellow NATO leaders prompted by his demands for allies to boost military budgets immediately.

‘Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment – they’re going to up it at levels they’ve never thought of before,’ Trump said. Trump has long complained that European countries do not spend enough on their own defence, leaving the US to shoulder an unfair burden for protecting the continent.

Someone said ‘is he an enemy?’ No, he’s not my enemy. Is he your friend? No, I don’t know him well enough, but the couple of times I’ve gotten to meet him we got on very well. But ultimately he’s a ‘competitor’. He’s representing Russia, I’m representing the US. Hopefully someday he’ll be a friend, I just don’t know. US President Donald Trump

Donald Trump arrived in London on Thursday on his maiden visit to the UK during which he will hold bilateral talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May over closer post-Brexit ties, amid mass protests planned around Britain against his controversial policies.

Protests are expected against Trump, whose policies – including a travel ban on a number of predominantly Muslim countries, the detention of child migrants on the US-Mexico border and the imposition of tariffs on exports – have all been criticised by the UK.

Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump touched down in their Air Force One at Stansted Airport in the east of England from the NATO summit in Brussels. The President said that he is ‘fine’ about the protests expected to be held during his tour. Trump said, ‘I think they like me a lot in the UK. I think they agree with me on immigration. You see what is going on throughout the world with immigration. I think that”s why Brexit happened.’

The Trumps, as the guests of honour, will interact with leaders of business sectors like financial services, travel, creative industries, food, and defence.

(With agency inputs)

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