Putin, Trump discuss rebuilding U.S.-Russia ties

A phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday was a display of mutual respect between the two men, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Weekend phone call was display of mutual respect, Russian foreign minister says

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed U.S.-Russia ties during a phone conversation on Saturday, their first since Trump's inauguration, according to the White House and Kremlin. (Shannon Stapleton/Sergei Ilnitsky/Reuters)

A phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday was a display of mutual respect between the two men, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

In the call, their first conversation since Trump's inauguration, Putin and Trump agreed to try to rebuild U.S.-Russia ties and to co-operate in Syria.

Trump has said he wants a rapprochement with Moscow if he can get along with Putin, who says he is also keen to mend ties. 

Statements from the White House and the Kremlin earlier described the conversation in positive terms, the same tone used in White House accounts of other calls Trump made to world leaders. Only later did a White House official, responding to a question, acknowledge that sanctions were not among the topics the two leaders discussed.

Both descriptions of the call focused on the positive aspects of a new American leader engaging with the Russian president. In a brief statement, the White House said the discussion was "a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair."

The two leaders discussed "a range in topics from mutual co-operation in defeating ISIS to efforts in working together to achieve more peace throughout the world including Syria," the White House statement said.

The White House official who spoke after the statement was issued said Putin brought up several times that Islamic terrorism was a "common foe" for the U.S. and Russia. The official was not authorized to disclose details of the call by name and insisted on anonymity.

With files from Associated Press