19:22 GMT21 February 2020
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    President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin should have more meetings and sincere talks to improve the countries’ bilateral relations, according to former US Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle.

    VIRGINIA BEACH (Sputnik) — President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin should have more meetings and sincere talks to improve the countries’ bilateral relations, former US Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle told Sputnik on the sidelines of Sister Cities International's 61st Annual Conference in Virginia Beach.

    "Fixing the US-Russia relationship requires us to talk honestly about the reasons the relationship finds itself in such bad state," Beyrle said. "The only way to open up that channel — to talk honestly and to build the trust, to sit down and talk. It is not done in one meeting, probably, not done in two or three meetings."

    Beyrle stressed that US-Russia relations right now are in a "very, very bad state," and the presidents of both countries have responsibility to try fix the situation.

    The former diplomat suggested not everything depends on Trump and Putin, but a lot does as it also depends on numerous other people doing their work.

    "But the presidents have to sit down, and they have to… discuss things honestly, completely and thoroughly. And that’s why I was delighted they started the process," Beyrle stated.

    On July 7, Putin and Trump held their first face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, which lasted for more than two hours.

    The two leaders discussed numerous issues, including Syria, Ukraine, cybersecurity and the fight against terrorism. After the meeting, US and Russian officials announced a ceasefire agreement in southwestern Syria, set to take effect on July 9.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the talks that Moscow and Washington also agreed to set up a communication channel to advance the settlement in Ukraine on the basis of the Minsk agreements.

    On Monday, the White House confirmed that the two leaders also discussed sanctions related to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US elections.

    Russia has repeatedly denied meddling in the US political system calling the allegations absurd.


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