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Trump Speaks of Tough Stance on Russia, Prospects of Meeting With Kim

© AP Photo / Martinez MonsivaisPresident Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla. - Sputnik International
The announcement comes hot on the heels of the House of Representatives report that concluded that there was no conspiracy between Trump's team and Russia. Trump praised the report as "magnificent."

Trump had announced prior to his meeting with German Chancellor Merkel in the White House, an intent to normalize relations with Russia while at the same time noting he shall keep a hardline in relations with Moscow.

"No one has ever taken such a harsh stance towards Russia as I did. Considering all this, if we manage to get along with Russia — it will be a good deal, not a bad one," Trump said.

Commenting on today's report by the US House Trump said once again that "there was no conspiracy" between his electoral team and Moscow and branded attempts to prove otherwise "a witch-hunt."

US-Russian relations have been in a downward spiral since the start of the conflict in Ukraine's Donbass region and the reunification of Crimea with Russia. They've deteriorated even further after Moscow began helping Bashar al-Assad in Syria to defeat the terrorist groups in his country as well after the UK's having accused Moscow of allegedly poisoning its former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the British city of Salisbury.

READ MORE: US Challenges UN System by Striking Syria — Russian Security Council

Trump's team was long under suspicion of conspiring with the Russian government in order to achieve victory in the US presidential elections. Both Trump and Moscow have denied these allegations. The House of Representatives committee today announced it had found no evidence of conspiracy but still accused Russia of meddling in the elections. Moscow denies these accusations.

Upcoming Talks With North Korea

Trump also expressed his high hopes on the outcome of the negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and said he doesn't believe he is playing with public opinion.

"I don't think he is playing. Doesn't look like it. We are not going to play, we, as I hope, are going to achieve an agreement. There has never been such an enthusiasm on their [North Korea] part to reach an agreement," Trump said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently announced the country is suspending its nuclear program and expressed his readiness to conduct negotiations with South Korea and the US. He also shared his hopes for the future reunification of the two Koreas.

READ MORE: Kim Jong-un Hopes For Unification as Koreas Agree to Discuss Peace Treaty

Kim Jong-un and his southern counterpart Moon Jae-in met for an Inter-Korean summit on April 27. The talks have resulted in the signing of the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula. The document declares that the two countries strive for the peninsula's de-nuclearization and a formal ending to the Korean War.

Iran Deal

"I think we'll be talking about Iran, probably, but I don't necessarily expect it [a decision] one way or the other," Trump said. "I know we're going to have a really good discussion on Iran."

However, he went on saying that the United States is likely to walk away from the international deal on Iran's nuclear program next month unless the flaws in the agreement are addressed.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which put restrictions on Tehran's nuclear research in exchange for sanctions relief. Tehran, in its turn, reacted saying that the country will withdraw from the agreement in case if changes are made.

In January, Trump asked the US Congress and European Union allies to address "flaws" in the agreement. The United States is expected to announce whether it will extend US sanctions waivers for Iran on May 12.

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