PIX: Ron Sachs/Zuma Press /DPA

Ron Sachs/Zuma Press

“President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence,” the White House said in detailing a conversation that included the possibility of setting up safe zones.

US-Russian relations had sunk to an “all-time low” over Moscow’s support for the Syrian regime, Trump said last month just days after a US airstrike in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of Syrian civilians.

The US said it would send a representative to ceasefire talks in Kazakhstan this week.

The leaders said they hoped to schedule their first meeting in conjunction with the July 7-8 G20 summit in the northern German city of Hamburg, the Kremlin said.

Trump has hosted several world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, but there have been no concrete plans so far for a face-to-face meeting with Putin.

The White House however made no mention of the plans for a meeting in its summary of the conversation.

Trump and Putin also discussed North Korea’s nuclear programme and recent missile tests, with Putin calling on Trump to show restraint, the Kremlin said.

Amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, the US confirmed on Monday that a missile defence system deployed to South Korea in order to guard against possible attacks from the North was operational.

Putin was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Trump on his election victory in November. Trump had promised to rebuild frayed US-Russian relations during his campaign.

However, relations between the powers have yet to see any significant improvement, with Trump confidants in Washington under investigation for possibly unlawful ties to Putin’s government and ties strained over Syria. -DPA

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