Trump to Putin: don’t meddle in US polls
President Donald Trump yesterday sardonically asked his Russian counterpart to please not meddle in US elections, appearing to make light of a scandal that led to an investigation of his campaign’s contact with the Kremlin during 2016 elections. A two-year investigation into a Moscow-run influence campaign during the election has hung over Trump’s presidency, frustrating the Republican president who has said he seeks better relations with Russia. Asked by reporters whether he would raise the issue during their meeting, held on the sidelines of a Group of 20 (G20) summit, Trump said: “Yes, of course I will,” drawing a laugh from President Vladimir Putin. Trump then turned to Putin to give the directive twice, as he pointed a finger at the Russian leader. “Don’t meddle in the election, please,” Trump said.
China warns of ‘severe threats’ to global order
China yesterday warned that protectionism and “bullying” were threatening the world order as President Xi Jinping met other leaders at the G20 summit ahead of high-stakes talks with Donald Trump. Xi met three of his African counterparts yesterday morning on the sidelines of the G20 summit of major world economies. “All leaders in the meeting stressed that unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying practices are on the rise, posing severe threats to economic globalisation and international order, and severe challenges to the external environment of developing countries,” Chinese foreign ministry official Dai Bing told reporters. Dai said the meeting involved Xi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and Senegal President Macky Sall.
EU President Donald Tusk yesterday lashed out at his Russian counterpart in unusually undiplomatic language, saying he “strongly disagreed” with Vladimir Putin when he said liberalism was “obsolete.” In an interview with the Financial Times, the Kremlin strongman said the “liberal idea” was now “in conflict” with what people around the world want. Putin criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow more than one million refugees into Germany as a “cardinal mistake” and praised US President Donald Trump for his efforts to stop the flow of migrants from Mexico. “This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected,” he said. “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.” The Russian president concluded in the interview that liberal ideology had “outlived its purpose”.
May to Putin: Stop ‘destabilising’ UK, allies
British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday told Russian President Vladimir Putin that normal relations will not be restored until Moscow ends its “irresponsible and destabilising” activity, a Downing Street spokesperson said. The comments came as May met Putin for the first time since the row over the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil. May also told Putin that Britain “has irrefutable evidence that Russia was behind the attack” on the former spy. London has made clear that May’s meeting with Putin does not represent a thawing of ties with Russia, despite calls from Putin for the two countries to “turn the page”. Russia has repeatedly denied any part in his killing. Earlier this month, Putin said it was time to “turn the page” on the countries’ difficult relationship after the poisoning.
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