Putin and Trump have first handshake at Hamburg G20
Friday - 07/07/2017 20:39
THE first footage of the highly-anticipated first meeting between US President Trump and Russian President Putin behind the scenes at the G20 has emerged.
The behind-the-scenes video shared by German Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert shows a number of the leaders backstage at the event.
It shows President Trump approach President Putin and hold out his hand for a shake, while clasping his arm. A moment later he is also seen patting Putin on the back while European Union leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk are also present.
Earlier Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “They shook each other’s hand and said that they would soon hold a separate meeting, would soon see each other.”
It’s thought just six people will be in the room for the highly-anticipated first bilateral meeting scheduled for Friday afternoon. They include the two leaders, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and two translators.
The meeting comes during a host of hot-button issues that have made for fractious international relations including the North Korean missile crisis, war in Syria and allegations of Russian interference in the US election.
Earlier in the day the leaders posed for a “family photograph” with President Trump chatting amiably with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull while walking into the event. He was left awkwardly hanging on the edge of the group photograph before French President Emmanual Macron took his place.
Once inside the room, where the leaders met to discuss trade and growth strategies, he was seen chatting to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Macron. The US leader also unwittingly provided a moment of comedy when Merkel suggested the leaders turn for a photograph for the press. Trump, apparently engrossed in his notes, ignored the suggestion leaving him the only one with his back to the media, before turning around and laughing.
Political observers in Washington are said to be worried about the high stakes meeting given Trump’s propensity for speaking off the cuff. The last time he met with a Russian official in Washington he was alleged to have disclosed “code word” Israeli intelligence.
He will also have to walk a diplomatic tightrope of not wanting to appear soft on Russia while still trying to build a rapport. Trump has previously said he wants to improve US relations and Ukraine and Syria could be two of the major topics up for discussion.
I look forward to all meetings today with world leaders, including my meeting with Vladimir Putin. Much to discuss.#G20Summit#USA??
But some fear Putin’s mastery of international affairs could make Trump a target for manipulation. The former KGB spy has a reputation for strongarming his counterparts, including once bringing his dog to a meeting with German Chancellor Anglea Merkel after having been briefed she was not a fan of the animals.
Pictures from the 2007 meeting show Merkel looking uncomfortable as black labrador Koni appears at Putin’s summer house in Sochi.
“I wanted to do something nice for her,” Putin said at the time.
“When I found out that she doesn’t like dogs, of course I apologised.”
Other leaders are also braced for tough talks with the US leader after his “America First” approach to trade and globalisation.
The summit will also bring together Chinese President Xi Jinping with Trump and Putin amid continued nuclear testing in North Korea, as well as Turkish and Saudi Arabian leaders during the deepening crisis in the Gulf over isolation of Qatar.