Washington: The opposition Democratic party on Thursday criticised US president Donald Trump for his planned summit meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next month.
Trump and Putin will meet in Helsinki, Finland on 16 July, the first summit meeting between the two leaders, to mend bilateral relations, the White House and the Kremlin said on Thursday.
"For Trump to 'reward' Putin with a one-on-one meeting while Russia actively continues to interfere with our elections and undermine the integrity of the transatlantic alliance, proves his priorities are out of whack," Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer said.
“The American people have to wonder: why is our president so committed to building a relationship with someone so dedicated to undermining our democracy and doing harm to our friends and allies?” he asked.
“If anything should happen at this meeting, President Trump must inform Putin of his intent to aggressively implement the tough sanctions that Congress passed last year, on a nearly unanimous basis, and tell Putin we will no longer stand by while he works to destabilise and harm us and our NATO allies,” Schumer said.
“That President Trump is set to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next month makes a mockery of history,” House Democratic Whip Steny H Hoyer said.
It was in Helsinki in 1975 that 35 nations, including the former Soviet Union, agreed to respect human rights and basic freedoms of their people.
“As Chairman of the Helsinki Commission at the end of the Cold War, I saw firsthand how a growing respect for human rights transformed into positive change that brought down Communism in Russia. Today, President Putin has turned Russia once more into an autocratic state, where the human rights of its people, particularly for LGBT people and for the press, have been severely curtailed,” he alleged.
If Trump is to meet with Putin, it would be irresponsible for him not to address Russia's human rights shortcomings, Hoyer said.
"At the same time, he must confront President Putin on Russia's interference in our elections and insist that Russia end its illegal occupation of Crimea and its destabilising activities in eastern Ukraine and in Syria. To ignore these issues would be an abdication of his responsibilities as President of the United States,” said the top Democratic leader.
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Updated Date: Jun 29, 2018 09:01:26 IST