Trump Fields Calls From Several Foreign Leaders

Donald Trump (R) and Vladimir PutinDonald Trump (R) and Vladimir Putin

President Donald Trump was on diplomatic desk duty on Saturday, fielding a flurry of prearranged phone calls from foreign leaders as his executive order creating an immigration crackdown in the United States caused a ripple of confusion at airports around the world.

After a hectic first week in the White House, Trump took calls privately from the Oval Office, NBC News reported.

  Vladimir Putin

Trump’s most anticipated conversation was with Putin.

The approximately hour-long call was described as “positive” and “a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair”, the White House said in a statement.

The White House said the pair discussed a number of international issues from fighting terrorism to the conflict in Syria. They also discussed the crisis in Ukraine, the Kremlin said on its website.

“Both President Trump and President Putin are hopeful that after today’s call, the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern,” the White House said. Putin and Trump agreed to work on stabilizing US-Russian relations, which became strained under the administration of former president Barack Obama, the Kremlin said.

According to White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, Trump took the call while he was with some of his top advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

  Angela Merkel

The call between Trump and Merkel lasted about 45 minutes, according to Spicer, and covered a slate of international affairs, including Russia and Ukraine, the Middle East and North Africa.

The conversation also centered on keeping NATO strong and having a stable transatlantic relationship, the White House said.

Trump last year called on NATO members to pay their fair financial share as part of the alliance and suggested the US otherwise might not step in to defend members under attack in the Baltic—setting off concern among the international community.

Trump and Merkel discussed how NATO thrives with all allies “contributing their fair share to our collective security”, the White House said.

Trump on Saturday agreed to attend the G20 Summit in Germany in July and said he would invite the chancellor to Washington.

  Francois Hollande

Hollande was more pointed in his first official phone conversation with Trump. He warned the real-estate mogul-turned-politician against taking a protectionist approach in the US, which could have economic and political consequences, a statement from the French president’s office said.

“In an unstable and uncertain world, turning inward would be a deadend,” Hollande told Trump, according to the statement.

  Shinzo Abe

Trump spoke with Abe about maintaining the US-Japanese alliance and affirmed America’s “ironclad” commitment to ensuring the security of Japan, the White House said in a statement.

Among the other topics discussed were newly sworn-in Defense Secretary James Mattis’ upcoming trip to Asia, including Japan, as well as continued cooperation on handling North Korea and deepening bilateral trade.

“Trump and Abe agreed to meet at the White House on February 10,” Spicer said. 

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