Trump, Putin meet Friday to discuss ‘issues of strategic stability’

Iran, Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan and Venezuela will be the likely topics of discussion between the world leaders.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

U.S. President Donald Trump will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this Friday on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Japan, Kremlin sources confirmed on Wednesday.

In their first get-together in almost a year, the world leaders will discuss an array of global hot spots, said Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov, according to the Interfax news agency. These include as many as five countries which are “issues of strategic stability,” he said, listing Afghanistan, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Iran.

Iran and Syria were the subject of Tuesday’s trilateral meeting in Jerusalem between the American, Israeli and Russian national security advisers.

At a press conference following the discusssions, Russia’s national security secretary Nikolai Patrushev defended Iran, calling the Islamic Republic “an ally and partner of ours” and saying it was “helping to stabilize the situation” in Syria. He also flatly rejected the American labeling of Iran as the main threat to global security.

Trump’s antipathy towards the Iranian regime is well-known, and tensions have been on the rise over recent weeks between the two administrations.

Most recently, the Iranians shot down an American surveillance drone which it claimed had infringed upon its airspace, a claim the U.S. denied. On Monday, Trump signed an executive order slapping sanctions on senior Iranian figures, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Russians and Americans do agree with Israel that Iran should get out of Syria – just as all foreign parties should. This includes Turkish forces as Ankara is holding onto a chunk of Syrian territory along its border.

A senior American administration official confirmed to The Moscow Times that the meeting between the two leaders would focus primarily on “regional security issues.” The official also threw Ukraine into the mix of “Iran, Syria and the Middle East” as expected topics of discussion.

The Ukraine, a U.S. ally, has fought for the past five years with two separatist regions backed by Moscow.

“They should also touch on arms control issues and on improving the bilateral relationship,” the U.S. official said, although according to the current timetable, the meeting is supposed to take only an hour.