Russian President Vladimir Putin met face-to-face for the first time with U.S. President Donald Trump Friday during the G20 Summit which kicked off in Hamburg, Germany. [Special coverage]
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the meeting revealed "a very clear, positive chemistry" and connection between the two leaders.
CONSIDERED A SUCCESS
The much-anticipated meeting lasted about 2 hours and 20 minutes, focusing on the situation in Ukraine and Syria, fight against terrorism and cyber security.
It saw the two leaders strike a cease-fire agreement in parts of Syria in a bid to curb the bloodshed that has impacted both sides in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation.
Briefing reporters, Tillerson said the U.S. objectives in Syria "are exactly the same" as Russia's. He indicated that there might be further opportunities for cooperation.
"There is a lot more commonality to that than there are differences, so we want to build on the commonality and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps," said Tillerson.
After the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Putin-Trump meeting was constructive and confirmed the desire to work together.
Ukraine was also raised in the talks, particularly the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, Lavrov said.
The Minsk agreement, which envisages a comprehensive cease-fire and a withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line, is aimed at a peaceful ending of the confrontation in Ukraine, which has killed more than 10,000 people and left almost 24,000 others injured.
U.S. experts called the meeting, overall, a success, and said it may foreshadow future U.S.-Russia cooperation.
"Trump had a successful meeting with Putin. The two leaders announced a limited cease-fire in parts of Syria. If it holds, that would be a hopeful sign of further cooperation on that delicate issue," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.
West also said that the goal of this meeting was to form a personal relationship with Putin that leads to agreements down the road.
"There are many issues where each country needs the help of the other. Anything that facilitates a dialogue is worthwhile from the standpoint of each leader," West said.
CRISIS STILL AHEAD
The meeting was considered Trump's first major test of whether he can improve relations with Russia, with ties chilly in recent years amid sanctions against Moscow.
Therefore, many experts also pointed out that optimism about U.S.-Russia ties should be kept reasonable.
Given the sequence of events prior to the summit, experts from both sides have actually lowered their expectations about the possibility of any concrete outcome from the meeting.
Many analysts predict the best result would be a slight thaw in relations and the two leaders developing possible chemistry. [ Alexei Mukhin, General Director of the Center for Political Information in Moscow, said that the excitement around this meeting is much greater than its expected result.
"The U.S. media are holding their breath, because they expect some unexpected turn from Trump at the meeting. But apparently, Trump is now unable to make political maneuvers and in fact does what his opponents demand," Mukhin said.
Andrey Suzdaltsev, deputy dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, believes that the crisis in relations between Russia and the United States is still ahead.
"The peak of the crisis has not yet been reached ... Therefore, the main thing is that the situation does not worsen after the meeting between Putin and Trump," Suzdaltsev said.