Smiles and fires: Putin and Trump meet in the historical G20
The most important international event of the week was the gathering of heads of the world's 20 leading countries in Hamburg. The central event of the summit was the first personal meeting between the leaders of Russia and the US. This moment was much anticipated globally, and people were rooting for the common success.
Italian farmer Dario Gambarin cut out his message to the Russian President and all G20 with his tractor and plow on his own field. It's a portrait of Putin that's so big, it's perfectly visible from outer space. No preliminary sketches. It's 130m x 100m. The portrait of the Russian president is best seen from a plane, in clear weather, from a height of 1 km. The similarity is amazing. The artist managed to convey even the blue color of the Russian president's eyes. So, people in Germany should see it. Of course. This is a message to G20. There are so many problems in the world to be addressed, and he is a key figure, of course. There will be a lot of detail about the G20 itself, but first there is an important difference that Putin noticed in Trump. The television Trump is very different from the real person. He's absolutely concrete. He perceives the interlocutor absolutely adequately. He analyzes quite quickly, answering questions or drawing some new elements from the discussion. So I think that if we build our relations in the vein of our yesterday's meeting there are good reasons to believe that we will be able to revive, at least partially the level of interaction that we need. If you carefully look at how this meeting began and the first minutes of the leaders meeting each other you'll see Putin extremely focused and concentrated.
At the same time he was friendly, though restrained. As for Trump, I, for one, feel that he looks as if he briefly broke out of the madhouse as all this crazy campaign against Russia remains back home in America. But even here, in Hamburg, he was beleaguered by the same idiotic empty questions. It was so intrusive that Trump even chose to cancel the planned press conference in Hamburg. But Putin went before the journalists calm and confident. And here you go our special correspondent Pavel Zarubin has the details. Waving the program of the concert, like a fan, Merkel and her guests only deepened the impression of this G20 summit as the hottest in history. The presidents were literally ready to drop with fatigue, and they didn't hide it. Trump kept closing his eyes Macron and his wife seemed to be trying to stay strong, but with what faces! And even the hostess of the summit Merkel surrendered because her neighbors stopped opening their eyes at all. The head of China, Xi Jinping desperately struggled with himself and seemed to be winning. President Putin, almost without blinking, stared straight before himself. It was the end of the most important and most difficult day which the whole world followed from its very beginning.
Actually, it is the main historic moment. Look, Russian President Vladimir Putin is arriving. It's his cortege. That's when all the G20 leaders meet for the first time. First come handshakes only to be followed by bilateral meetings and the summit itself. This was the case. Some minutes later the first seconds of the video circulate on the TV and Internet. US President Trump sees Putin on the sidelines and comes to meet him. But the main thing, the first full-fledged talks, were still yet to come. And no step taken before them is ignored. Look at this, he speaks German with the German chancellor. See, an hour and a half before meeting Trump, Vladimir Putin shows who is the boss here. When I saw it, I thought: «This is a guy who knows what he's doing He knows what message he sends to the world» Before the meeting of Putin and Trump, an extremely limited number of journalists are led to a restricted area.
Only presidents and ministers are let here. The lobby of the G20: here on every free centimeter negotiations are taking place. Here we see Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs negotiating with someone. Everything is OK? -Yes. -Everything will be great. Journalists were crowded into a few square meters. Technically, this G20 summit area belongs to the USA. And these are the Americans who organize everything here. Well, we can see the organization. Half an hour later, Trump comes out of one of the offices to head to room number 14. That's where everything is to happen. As far as we know, the meeting has already started but the journalists will be let in only after the presidents take their places. Naturally, it was the American organizers' mistake. There was almost a crush in that narrow corridor. You can see the journalists rushing to the bilateral meeting of Putin and Trump. Journalists literally fall into the negotiations room. It was not known whether the
Presidents would say anything. Trump and Putin, having waited for several seconds and watching what is happening, do pronounce the opening address. Thank you very much. President Putin and I have been discussing various things and it’s going very well. We'll have a talk now, and we look forward to a lot of positive things happening for our countries. Mr President, we have talked on the phone about vital bilateral and international issues several times but, of course, telephone conversations are not enough. If we want to find positive solutions to bilateral issues and the most important and urgent international problems such meetings in person are essential. Trump has been the US President for 7 months, but this is his very first meeting with the Russian President. After the first meeting with President Trump, do you think it would be possible to gradually pull Russian-US relations out of deep crisis they are in, or is it difficult to say anything at all yet? I very much hope so, and it seems to me that we have built certain prerequisites for this. As for personal relations, I believe that they have been established. The open part lasted for only about 2 minutes. During the meeting Trump twice stretches out his hand to Putin for a handshake. And it’s an honor to be with you. I'm very glad to meet with you. We've already discussed a whole range of issues and will continue discussing a whole range of issues. And I look forward to this opportunity. I think this is positive for Russia, for the USA and for everybody concerned. And it’s an honor to be meeting with you. I am very happy to meet you, Mr President. I hope, as you have said that our meeting will produce positive results. After listening to what was said, reporters from the White House pool of course, asked in unison about the US elections. Predictably, the American journalists have begun to shout questions to the Presidents.
Mr. President, what about the election interference? The answers were not provided at that time. But at his news conference, Putin himself gave the floor to American journalists. NBC? Are you from NBC news? Will you ask the question together? OK. We meant to ask you about your meeting with President Trump. Unfortunately, the White House offers practically no information about what is going on. Could you… We will give them a piece of our minds. Could you just share what President Trump said during your meeting when you told him that Russia had not interfered in the political process? He started asking probing questions he was really interested in some details. He asked me and I answered him. He asked probing questions, and I offered explanations. I think he was satisfied with those answers. There is no reason to believe that Russia interfered in the US election process. But what is important is that we have agreed to establish a working group and make joint efforts to monitor security in the cyberspace to prevent interference in countries' internal affairs. One of the main discussion points is the length of the negotiations. They lasted for 2 hrs 15 min, several times longer than planned, breaking the schedule. Several times I had to remind the President, and people were sticking their heads in the door. The First Lady was sent into the meeting to see if she could get us out of there. It didn't work either. Putin has an extraordinary track record in charming American presidents. Looking into his eyes, George W. Bush saw his soul.
President Obama, meeting Putin, was struck as well. So, in fact Putin is good at winning the American presidents' favor, at least at the beginning. And then, maybe, in the coming years the work will go well, hopefully. Given so many bilateral issues, even a two-hour talk won't solve them at once. Though, it brought about an agreement on the southern «De-Escalation Zone» in Syria. You know, others may react as they like but I can tell you, this is one of the breakthroughs we have made in our work with President Trump. The introduction of the ceasefire can be called a great achievement of the summit. Naturally, it will be associated with the names of Trump and Putin. During the discussion of the Ukrainian crisis the American side announced the appointment of a special envoy. It was agreed to set up a channel between Russian and US officials so as to use US capabilities for promoting a settlement on the basis of the Minsk agreements. Ukraine was also discussed during the meeting with Macron and Merkel.
The bilateral Putin-Macron negotiations were unlikely to escape this issue either. The French President was a bit late for the meeting. Finally, he was in such a hurry that when he came, first of all he began adjusting his socks. Discussing the Ukrainian issue without Kiev authorities was much worrying. They couldn't help but remind of themselves. Posters appeared at the entrance to the main building of the summit, saying «Ukrainian Army: protecting the borders of civilization» Though, they impressed nobody. They have only one «product» left – Russophobia, and they are selling it successfully. Another thing they are selling is the policy of dividing Russia and Ukraine and pulling the two peoples and two nations apart. Some in the West like this. some believe that Russia and Ukraine must not be allowed to get closer in any areas. That is why the current Ukrainian authorities are making active and successful efforts to sell this «product.» But I think this will eventually come to an end. Russia, at any rate, wants for this situation to be over as soon as possible. Everyone noticed that Angela Merkel spent much time talking to Putin this time constantly smiling. After all, it turns out that the world can change so quickly. German newspapers, which have recently represented the USA as the main ally, now depict Trump as a primitive man on the front page though Merkel clearly tried her best to convince the American
President to support the G20's final document on climate protection. There are snipers in the windows, riflemen on armored vehicles as Trump comes to Merkel's hotel for a conversation. It's all cordoned off for hundreds of meters. Our film crew is mistaken for American journalists, that's why we are so close. The «Atlantic» Hotel. The cortege of the US president Donald Trump. The first negotiations with Frau Merkel are proceeding now in this hotel. While Trump is away, his car is rubbed to glitter. These days the air in Hamburg has been too full of polluting substances. The inscription in English says: «G20: Welcome to Hell» The protesters are lined up almost in military detachments. There are only 10m between them and the police. There are several water jets over there. Roughly estimated, there are tens of thousands of people. People are even on the bridges. The peaceful protest lasts only a couple of hours. Anti-globalists entertain all the G20 participants at night. We witness people throwing bicycles in the flame setting fire to cars. We hear explosions. I stress that it's all happening in the center of Hamburg. The police are watching without doing anything so far. Tens of thousands of people are doing almost anything they want in the city. Hundreds of injured policemen. Next to the protests drinking establishments are still open, beer is actively sold, and the bottles are later thrown into the police. The police go on the offensive, constantly using water jets and tear gas. But the feeling is that they are completely powerless ceding one block after another to the protesters.
Hotels strongly recommend closing the windows. Drivers serving the summit refuse to work. People have to cover kilometers on foot. Merkel, nevertheless, meets with the police to thank them for their work. The Chancellor was barked at by the dogs, which clearly frightened her. Trump, who canceled the final news conference at the last moment, expresses thanks in his Twitter to German law enforcement for their «brilliant work.» Well, at least here the opinions of Trump and Merkel coincide. Pavel Zarubin, Alexander Medvedev, Alexander Makarov Constantine Muchnik and Petr Ravnov for Vesti, News of the Week from Germany.