White House: Trump, Putin discuss Syria, North Korea, Middle East in phone call

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed working together to end the violence in Syria on Tuesday in their first phone call since U.S. air strikes in Syria strained U.S.-Russian relations.

The White House said the two leaders agreed that "all parties must do all they can to end the violence" in Syria and that Trump and Putin also discussed working together against Islamic militants throughout the Middle East.

"The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons," a White House statement said.

Both men also spoke in favor of organizing a face-to-face meeting around the time of the G20 summit in Hamburg in July, according to the Kremlin statement. However, this was not mentioned in the White House's summary of the call.

Trump's decision to launch 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield on April 4 in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack angered the Russians and led to some bitter exchanges between the two governments.

The White House statement said Washington will send a representative to Syrian cease-fire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday and Thursday.

"They also discussed at length working together to eradicate terrorism throughout the Middle East. Finally, they spoke about how best to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea," the statement said.

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