President Donald Trump had a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in which they discussed the possibility of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as the North Korean nuclear crisis.
According to the White House, President Trump expressed his condolences for the crash of Saratov Flight 703 on February 11 and offered American assistance in the investigation. The crash, which killed 71 people, has been tentatively blamed on either equipment failure or pilot error that caused one of the airspeed sensors to malfunction.
President Putin mentioned his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. President Trump responded that “now is the time to work toward an enduring peace agreement,” per the White House summary.
Putin’s meeting with Abbas did not go terribly well. Putin conveyed “best wishes” from Trump; Abbas shot back that the Palestinian Authority refuses to “cooperate in any form with the U.S. in its status of a mediator, as we stand against its actions.” He was primarily referring to the Trump administration’s formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Abbas added that since the United States “can no longer play a leading role” in negotiations, he hoped Russia would assume a more prominent role.
“The two presidents discussed other topics of mutual concern, and President Trump reiterated the importance of taking further steps to ensure the denuclearization of North Korea,” the White House readout of the Trump-Putin call concluded.
President Trump recently complained that Russia is “not helping us at all with North Korea.” He also accused the Russians of helping North Korea to evade international sanctions.