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Trump urges Russia “to cease its destabilizing activities”; on Friday he meets Putin

Friday, July 7th 2017 - 07:08 UTC
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Trump spoke before a cheering, flag-waving crowd of 10,000 people at historic Krasinski Square in central Warsaw Trump spoke before a cheering, flag-waving crowd of 10,000 people at historic Krasinski Square in central Warsaw

In a keynote address in Warsaw, U.S. President Donald Trump urged Russia “to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere” and specifically reaffirmed Washington's commitment to NATO's Article 5. Trump spoke on Thursday before a cheering, flag-waving crowd of 10,000 people at historic Krasinski Square in central Warsaw, where former President Lech Walesa sat among guests in the VIP area.

 He also said Moscow should end its “support for hostile regimes -- including Syria and Iran.”

Trump called on America's NATO allies to join the United States in a defense of the West against ”radical Islamic terrorism“ and ”any form of ideological support“ that terrorists receive.

Trump said the United States repeatedly ”has demonstrated not only with words, but with its actions, that it stands behind Article 5“ of the NATO treaty -- the provision stating that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all members of the alliance.

Many observers were closely watching Trump's comments about the treaty provision after he shocked NATO allies during a May meeting in Brussels by failing to mention it.

He said all NATO members must meet their financial commitments to the alliance, and he praised Poland for being one of the few NATO countries that has done so.

Trump described Poland as a long-time U.S. ally that is ”an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization.“

Earlier on Thursday, after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump said the United States is ”committed to maintaining peace and security in Central Europe“ and again said that Washington is ”working with Poland in response to Russia's actions and destabilizing behavior.“

The White House gave its blessing to a US$7.6 billion deal to sell Patriot missile defense systems to Poland by the end of the year. U.S. missile defense systems in Eastern Europe have prompted repeated complaints from Russia in the past, and President Barack Obama had shelved such plans in 2009, as part of his administration’s attempted “reset” of relations with Moscow.

A Kremlin spokesman said Moscow disagrees with Trump’s description of Russia’s behavior as “destabilizing” and said the Kremlin regrets that there is a lack of understanding between Russia and the United States.

Trump told reporters after talks with Duda that he thinks Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but said he also thinks ”other people and, or, countries“ may have interfered in the election campaign.

”Nobody really knows for sure,“ Trump said.

In Warsaw, Trump told a summit of Central and Eastern European leaders that ”America will be your strongest ally and your steadfast partner” in their attempts to reduce the region's dependence on Russian energy supplies.

Trump encouraged leaders at the Three Seas Initiative summit to take advantage of newly available supplies of U.S. liquefied natural gas.

The Three Seas Initiative is a joint project of Poland and Croatia that was launched in 2016 with the aim of strengthening trade, infrastructure, and cooperation on energy and politics between countries that border the Adriatic Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea.

After Warsaw, Trump traveled to Hamburg, Germany, for the Group of 20 summit, where he plans to meet on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel shortly after arriving. The two leaders shook hands and spoke briefly before leaving for closed-door talks.

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