HAMBURG – Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are holding a much-anticipated first meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany. Ahead of the talks, both presidents stressed the importance of personal encounters, with Trump also thanking Putin for the meeting in Russian.

The leaders have been talking for nearly two hours in Hamburg, Russian G20 Sherpa (emissary), Svetlana Lukash said.

The meeting was initially planned to last for around 30-40 minutes, international media reported earlier in the day.

Putin & Trump hold first bilateral meeting at G20 SummitCourtesy: Ruptly

Posted by RT on Friday, July 7, 2017

“President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well,” Trump told the media during the photo session.

“We’ve had some very, very good talks, we are gonna have a talk now and obviously that will continue,” Trump added, saying there are hopes “to a lot of very positive things happening.”

“It’s an honor to be with you, thank you,” Trump concluded, offering his hand to Putin for a handshake.

“Spasibo [thank you],” the US leader added in Russian.

Addressing Trump, Putin then said that although the two of them have “several times talked over the phone, including on some very important bilateral and international issues,” phone talks were “obviously not enough.”

Meetings in person are “necessary” if the two countries want to resolve the “most pressing issues,” Putin added.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were also present at the meeting.

Moreover, according to the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US President Donald Trump opened his much-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin by raising concerns about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject,” Tillerson said after the two leaders met for two hours on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

“The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that the two leaders discussed the subject.

“President Trump said he heard President Putin’s unequivocal statement that [the allegations] are not true, and that the Russian government has not interfered [in the US election], and [Trump] accepts those statements,” said Lavrov, adding that the US has not revealed any proof of such interference.