1 Aug 2019 11:28

Trump's phone call to Putin, offer of help to combat Siberian fires boost chance to normalize Russia-U.S. relations - Slutsky

MOSCOW. Aug 1 (Interfax) - Chairman of the Russian State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky has expressed cautious optimism over Wednesday's telephone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Trump's phone call to Putin and his offer of help in combating the fires in Siberia indicates that the American leader's recently stated wish to 'get along' is not just a bluff. Indeed, Trump's noble gesture boosts the chance of normalizing Russian-American relations," Slutsky told reporters on Thursday.

"Obviously, the U.S. president is now feeling greater freedom of action in the Russian track amid the changing domestic political situation," he said.

"The results of the discussion of [U.S. Special Counsel Robert] Mueller's report and the court's refusal to hear the Democratic National Committee's lawsuit regarding alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, as Trump himself has said, 'end this witch hunt'," Slutsky said.

The Russian parliamentarian, however, said that he prefers to stay "cautiously optimistic" for now.

"Only time will show to what extent the American president's words will match actual deeds. I remain confident that the two largest nuclear powers on the planet can't have a below-zero level of interaction. It is necessary to steer the Russian-American dialogue toward a constructive and working-level format," Slutsky said.