Putin thanks Trump for help in foiling attack plot

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk during a break in a session of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, in this November 11, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 December 2017
0

Putin thanks Trump for help in foiling attack plot

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked US counterpart Donald Trump Sunday for the CIA’s help in thwarting a planned attack in Saint Petersburg, the second time in a week that the leaders have exchanged praise.
Putin spoke by phone with Trump to convey his gratitude for intelligence supplied by the CIA which allowed Russia’s FSB security service to break up a “terrorist cell” that was planning attacks in Russia’s second city, the Kremlin said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
“The information received by the CIA was enough to detect, hunt down and arrest the criminals,” the Kremlin said.
Putin also pledged that Russian security agencies would pass on any information received about terrorist threats to the United States and its citizens.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed on Twitter that the Putin and Trump spoke Sunday.
The FSB announced on Friday it had arrested seven members of an Daesh group cell that had been planning a suicide bombing and “the killing of citizens” in crowded areas of Saint Petersburg on December 16.
Police confiscated a large number of explosives used to make homemade bombs, automatic rifles, munitions and extremist literature, it said.

On Tuesday, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov said Russia was on alert for the possible return of jihadists from Syria ahead of the World Cup and the presidential election in 2018.
Russia has suffered several attacks this year, including a bombing on the Saint Petersburg metro in April that left 14 people dead.
The threat of attack has increased since Moscow’s military intervention in Syria in September 2015 to support President Bashar Assad’s regime, making Russia a priority IS target.
As many as 40,000 fighters traveled from all over the world, including Russia, to join IS in Syria after the 2014 declaration of its self-styled “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq.
In 2015, Russian security services estimated that 2,900 Russian citizens had joined the jihadist group, as well as several thousand Central Asians.
In a phone call on Thursday, Trump and Putin discussed the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program, and the US leader took the unusual step of thanking his Russian opposite number for hailing the American economy.
The pair have lavished praise on each other in the past, with commentators describing their cosy relationship as a “bromance.”
But diplomatic ties between Washington and Moscow are still fraught, with both expelling some of each other’s diplomats in September and the US designation last month of Russia’s English-language news channel RT as a “foreign agent.”
At his annual press conference this week, Putin said allegations of Russian interference in last year’s US election had been “made up by people who are opposed to Trump so as to delegitimize his work.”
The two leaders met in July on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany, after which Trump said he “accepted” Putin’s assurance that Moscow did not meddle in the vote.
“The Trump that you see on TV is very different than the real Trump,” Putin told reporters at the time. “There is every reason to believe that we will be able to at least partially re-establish the level of cooperation that we need.”


‘Key issues unresolved’, UN chief warns climate talks

Updated 5 min 1 sec ago
0

‘Key issues unresolved’, UN chief warns climate talks

KATOWICE, Poland: “Key political issues” deadlocking UN climate talks “remain unresolved,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday after an unscheduled stop at the troubled negotiations in Poland.
The fight against climate change is a “matter of life and death today,” he told ministers and delegates at the 195-nation UN forum tasked with beating back the threat of global warming, barely 48 hours before the meet in the coal town of Katowice was set to adjourn.
The two-week talks are tasked with breathing life into the 2015 Paris Agreement, which vows to cap global warming at “well under” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries already feeling the sting of deadly storms, heatwaves and droughts made worse by climate change.
But efforts to elaborate a “rule book” for the Paris pact and to boost the carbon-cutting pledges of all nations have run aground, even as a barrage of scientific reports have warned that only immediate and radical measures can avert catastrophic climate impacts.
“The eyes of the world are upon us,” said Guterres, who had not planned to return to the talks after addressing the opening plenary 10 days ago.
“To waste this opportunity would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change,” he said.
“It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal.”
A major report called for by the UN climate body concluded in October that Earth’s rise in temperature must be capped even lower — at 1.5C — to avoid the danger of runaway warming.
But several countries at the talks, led by the United States and Saudi Arabia, have blocked efforts to endorse the report, which many developing countries see as essential.
“The IPCC report on 1.5C is the basis for all future action, on what we need to do,” Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu told AFP.
Endorsing the report’s findings at the conclusion of the UN forum “is a red line issue for us.”