President Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia agreed on Tuesday to work together to broker a cease-fire in Syria, as they sought to move past weeks of tension after a chemical attack on Syrian civilians and a retaliatory American cruise missile strike.
In their first telephone conversation since the rupture in relations last month, Mr. Trump agreed to send a representative to Russian-sponsored cease-fire talks starting on Wednesday in Astana, Kazakhstan, and the two leaders assigned their top diplomats to coordinate efforts. They also discussed meeting in Germany in July.
But the White House and Kremlin offered differing accounts of how far the two presidents had gone in exploring the idea of establishing safe zones in Syria to protect civilians suffering under a relentless civil war, a concept Mr. Trump has advocated since last year’s campaign but has so far made no effort to follow through on. The White House statement said the talk had “included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons.”
The Kremlin made no mention of safe zones in its own statement after the phone call, and Mr. Putin’s spokesman played down the idea. “The subject was mentioned but was not discussed in detail,” he told the state-run Tass news agency.
Still, both sides offered positive assessments of the conversation, with the White House characterizing it as “a very good one” and the Kremlin calling it “businesslike and constructive.” Neither side mentioned the dispute over the chemical attack and cruise missile strike.
“President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence,” the White House statement said. nytimes.com