Sanctions may be lifted if Moscow does ‘something good’ for US – Trump
WASHINGTON (Sputnik): In an exclusive interview with Reuters, US President Donald Trump focused on a whole array of pressing issues, including the White House’s sanctions against Russia, the deterioration in US-Turkey ties as well as the Washington-Beijing trade row and possible talks between Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.
Trump Doesn’t Rule Out Lifting Anti-Russian Sanctions
Speaking exclusively to Reuters, US President Donald Trump made it clear that he may consider lifting US sanctions against Russia if Moscow takes some steps in return.
“I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us. But I wouldn’t consider it without that,” he pointed out.
Trump added that the topic had not been discussed during his high-level talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki earlier this month, but that he would deal with the issue if Russia took steps related to bilateral cooperation with Washington on a spate of issues pertaining to Syria and Ukraine.
He said that during the Helsinki talks, they specifically discussed security for Israel, Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Syria, the situation in eastern Ukraine and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
‘Turkey is Making a Terrible Mistake’ on US Pastor Case
In the Reuters interview, Trump also touched upon deteriorating ties between Washington and Ankara, which are especially tarnished by the White House sanctioning two senior Turkish officials for their participation in the detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson, who is suspected of being connected to the Gulen movement.
Trump bemoaned the fact that Ankara is reluctant to release Brunson, saying that he mistakenly thought that he had clinched a deal with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan after he helped persuade Israel to free a detained Turkish woman in exchange for Ankara freeing the pastor.
“I think it’s very sad what Turkey is doing. I think they’re making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions,” Trump stressed, in an apparent nod to Turkey’s constant demands to extradite US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is suspected in the 2016 coup plot against Erdogan.
When asked about the potential global economic repercussions of Washington’s authorization of a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey, Trump said that he is “not concerned at all” about all this.
“I’m not concerned. This is the proper thing to do,” he added.
No Plans to Meet Presidents of Iran, China – Trump
The US President said the White House had not turned to Tehran in order to discuss possible talks between Trump and his Iranian counterpart after Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, also known and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018.
“If they want to meet that’s fine, and if they don’t want to meet, I couldn’t care less,” he pointed out.
Trump also remained downbeat about his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific summit in Papua New Guinea, referring to the current Washington-Beijing trade relationship, which has yet to be ameliorated.
“Maybe. I’m not sure that it’s been set up yet. We’ll see,” he said, adding that he had “no time frame” on resolving the US administration’s trade spat with China.
“I’m like them, I have a long horizon,” Trump underlined.
Relations between the US and China deteriorated after Washington adopted a series of tariffs on Chinese goods, citing unfair trade practices by Beijing that have allegedly hurt US trade balances.
Recently the White House promised to impose additional 25-percent tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese products, starting August 23. Beijing has responded with tit-for-tat measures, such as tariffs on $60 billion worth of US imports, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and aircraft.