Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have held their first face-to-face talks, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg.
“It’s an honour to be with you,” Mr Trump told Mr Putin, who responded: “I’m delighted to meet you personally.”
The US and Russian leaders were looking to repair ties damaged by crises including Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election.
Climate change and trade are set to dominate the two-day G20 meeting.
Violent clashes between protesters and police have taken place in the streets outside the venue, with dozens left injured.
A huge police operation is trying to keep demonstrators – who are protesting against the presence of Mr Trump and Mr Putin, climate change and global wealth inequalities – well away from the summit venue, and water cannon have been deployed.
Earlier, US First Lady Melania Trump was unable to leave her hotel in Hamburg because of the protests.
“Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well,” Mr Trump told reporters while sitting alongside Mr Putin at the start of the talks, which were open to the media.
“We’ve had some very, very good talks. We’re going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue. We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned.”
Mr Putin, via a translator, said that while they had spoken by phone, a phone conversation was never as good as meeting face to face.
Both men ignored shouted questions from reporters as the meeting went into private session.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Putin said: “I’ve had a very long conversation with the US president. We had a lot of issues to discuss, including Ukraine, Syria, and other problems, also some bilateral issues.
“We have again returned to the fight against terror and to cybersecurity.”
The words were warm enough, but the body language was restrained as this meeting began. Neither man was smiling much as both said they hoped for positive results from their encounter. Their handshake, when it finally came, was brief and businesslike.
But they clearly had plenty to talk about, as their meeting went on well over the time allocated. Russia sees that alone as a success, proof that Vladimir Putin is a global leader to be reckoned with. No-one here is expecting any big deals though, like lifting sanctions for example.
The Kremlin has stressed all along that its main aim is to establish a “working dialogue” with Donald Trump, and perhaps begin the slow process of restoring relations with the US, which are at their lowest point in many years.
The G20 (Group of Twenty) is a summit for 19 countries, both developed and developing, plus the EU.
In her summit opening statement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We are all aware of the great global challenges.
“We know that time is short and therefore solutions very often can only be found if we are ready to compromise and work together without bending over backwards too much because, of course, we can express different views on some issues.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged G20 leaders to impress upon Mr Trump that he should act as a role model in addressing climate change.
“We’ll tell him it’s important to take a lead role in tackling climate change and creating good jobs,” he told German tabloid Bild, according to Reuters news agency.
Mrs Merkel has said the G20 will focus on the Paris climate deal but, as the G20 host, she will work to find compromises.
Mrs Merkel and other EU leaders have also expressed their commitment to an open international trading system, while the Trump administration pursues protectionism under the “America First” motto.
On Friday, the US first lady had been due to take part in an excursion with other leaders’ spouses, but her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said: “The Hamburg police could not give us clearance to leave.”
Mrs Trump herself tweeted concern for those injured in the protests.
Courtesy : BBC