MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin has told U.S. President Donald Trump in a New Year's letter that the Kremlin is “open to dialogue” on the myriad issues hindering relations between their countries.
The Kremlin published a summary of Putin's “greeting message” to Trump on Sunday. The summary states the Russian leader wrote: “Russia-U.S. relations are the most important factor behind ensuring strategic stability and international security.”
Trump canceled a formal meeting with Putin scheduled for Dec. 1 at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, tweeting “it would be best for all parties” given Russia's seizure days earlier of three Ukrainian naval vessels.
Since then, the Kremlin has repeatedly said it is open to dialogue.
The message to Trump was among dozens of holiday greetings Putin sent to other world leaders, each tailored to reflect a bilateral theme. The recipients included Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Putin has backed throughout a civil war that started in 2011.
Putin's message to Assad “stressed that Russia will continue to provide all-around assistance to the government and people of Syria in their fight against terrorism and efforts to protect state sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to the Kremlin summary.
Moscow hosted talks with Turkey on Saturday in which the two countries agreed to coordinate actions in northern Syria after Trump's announcement that he was withdrawing U.S. forces from the country.
The main group of Kurdish-led forces fighting against Assad with U.S. support has said the U.S. pullout could lead to the revival of the Islamic State group.
Putin, in his message to Assad, “wished the Syrian people the earliest return to peaceful and prosperous life.”