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Hello, goodbye for Duterte, Putin

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It was a meeting that nearly didn’t materialize. But Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly adjusted his schedule to talk with President Duterte Tuesday night in Moscow. Just hours after arriving in the Russian capital, Duterte had aborted his four-day official visit after the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups laid siege to Marawi City. After signing his proclamation of martial law in Mindanao, Duterte prepared for his return flight, ready to forgo a meeting with his “idol” Putin that was originally scheduled for today. But Putin found time for his guest and the meeting pushed through, even if “it was hello and goodbye”, Duterte said at a press conference upon his arrival yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Putin and Abbas to meet next Thursday.

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Nofal added the two men will discuss the results of the Arab League summit in Amman, with special attention paid to the Palestinian issue and the struggle against terrorism, as well as Abbas’s meeting this past week with U.S. President Donald Trump.”The Russian and Palestinian leaders will also discuss bilateral relations and intra-Palestinian reconciliation”, Nofal told TASS. Russia has expressed an interest in mediating Israel-PA peace talks which have been frozen since 2014. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said several months ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit to revive the talks. Several days later, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Putin held a telephone conversation in which they discussed the peace process, among other things, though a Kremlin spokesman later clarified there was “nothing concrete” yet on a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.


Merkel meets Putin to discuss crises in Syria and Ukraine.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has begun talks with President Vladimir Putin on her first visit to Russia since 2015. The meeting, at Mr Putin’s summer residence in Sochi, comes with bilateral relations in a trough over the war in Syria and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. They are to discuss both issues but no breakthroughs are expected. He will then meet Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday. “Of course, we cannot but take advantage of this visit and discuss bilateral relations and the most problematic points, by which I mean Ukraine, Syria and possibly some other regions”, Putin said at the start of the talks with Mrs Merkel, quoted by Russia’s Interfax news agency.

China welcomes U.S. saying it is open to talks on North Korea.

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China on Thursday welcomed an apparently softer tone by the United States on the North Korean nuclear and missile crisis but stressed its opposition to a U.S. missile defence system being deployed in South Korea. Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on North Korea and other countries on Thursday to avoid behaviour or rhetoric that could increase tensions around Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. Speaking at a news conference in Moscow after talks, the two leaders said they had agreed to cooperate closely to try to help defuse tensions around North Korea.

Vladimir Putin condemn US missile attacks on Syria's airbase.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation condemned the Sunday’s US cruise missile attacks on Syria’s Shayrat airbase in Homs province, describing it as violation of the United Nations charter. Rouhani deplored the use of chemical arms in Syria, saying, “Reports indicate that terrorists have access to chemical weapons and the US strikes will prompt terrorist groups to use chemical weapons once again”. Putin  said the United Nations has acknowledged that the Syrian government does not possess chemical weapons, adding that Washington’s missile strikes were a pre-planned move which would fail to help solve the Syrian crisis.

Russia warns Israel over Syria: Baseless allegations unacceptable.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call Thursday against comments he made following Tuesday’s chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s northern Idlib province. Netanyahu, after the attack said that he was “shocked and outraged”, by the attack, which killed dozens of people. “There’s no, none, no excuse whatsoever for deliberate attacks on civilians and on children, especially with cruel and outlawed chemical weapons”. Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, claimed that the incident was the result of a Syrian airstrike on a rebel weapons storehouse. Assad said that “Israel is doing its best to support these terrorists in every place the Syrian Army advances”. He warned that any operation undertaken by foreign militaries without Syrian government approval would be considered an invasion.

Iran good neighbour, reliable partner: Putin.

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The meeting between Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was held on Tuesday evening as part of Rouhani’s two-day visit to Moscow. Putin, while deeming Iran as a good neighbour and trustable partner, said the two sides have held diplomatic ties for the past 500 years. “Tehran and Moscow have hold partnership in all areas which entails international affairs as well as resolving extremely complicated issues in political and economic sectors”, he continued. Also at the meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said cooperation between Russia and the Islamic Republic is not directed against third countries, but is aimed at strengthening stability in the region.

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