by Sharon Rondeau

(Jul. 16, 2018) — At approximately 11:10 a.m. EDT, Russian president Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump walked to twin podiums in the Finnish presidential palace and promptly began a press conference approximately 90 minutes after it was scheduled.

The two leaders met for approximately two hours earlier on Monday.

Putin spoke first, with the interpreter stating that Putin said initially of his meeting with Trump, “I think we can call it a success.”

Putin was also said to have declared that “the Cold War is a thing of the past” after acknowledging recent tense relations between the two countries.

He also touched on fighting global terrorism, Syria, and the possibility of ushering in peace in the war-torn country whose leader Putin supports and the U.S. opposes.

He praised Trump for engaging in dialogue with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un rather than “confrontation.”

At 11:18 a.m. EDT, Putin said that he and Trump agreed to have Russian and U.S. businesses work together.

He said he promised Trump that Russia would not “interfere” in the U.S. “election process.”

“We have to engage experts on bilateral relationship,” Putin said, regarding “points of contact between the two countries.”

Putin thanked Trump for the positive dialogue.

At 11:21, Trump began to speak, thanking the Finnish president for hosting the meeting and Putin for engaging.  As he had earlier, Trump complimented Russia on its hosting of the World Cup finals on Sunday.

“Our relationship has never been worse than it is now; however, that changed as of about four hours ago,” Trump said.  “I really believe that.”

Trump said that Putin had agreed to work to see that North Korea effects the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as Jong-Un promised during the June 12 summit in Singapore.

At 11:26, Trump said that “the crisis in Syria is a complex one.”

Trump ended his remarks at 11:28, thanking Putin again and expressing hope for a better future relationship.

Russian reporters were designated to ask the first questions.

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