U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo: Syrian refugees another Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit topic

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York, July 20, 2018. Pompeo said on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin began discussing the return of millions of Syrian refugees. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo endorsing U.S. President Donald Trump’s continuing of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Friday the two leaders began discussing the return of millions of Syrian refugees.

“The president shared with me the conversations that they had,” Pompeo told reporters at UN Headquarters after a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“There was a discussion between President Trump and President Putin about the resolution in Syria and how we might get the refugees back,” the Washington envoy said.

“It is important to the world that at the right time, through a voluntary mechanism, these refugees are able to return to their home country,” Pompeo said. “It’s what we’ve all been working on. It’s what the UN has been working on … and President Putin and President Trump did discuss that.”

“There’s lots of work to do to figure out how to implement that,” he said. “But, the United States certainly wants to be part of helping achieving that resolution in Syria. Make no mistake about it.”

Asked about what he thought of Trump inviting Putin to the White House this autumn, Pompeo said: Yeah, I’m happy that the two leaders of two very important countries are continuing to meet. If that meeting is in Washington it is all to the good. Those conversations are incredibly important.”

“We have our senior leaders meeting with people all across the world, people that we have deep disagreements with,” he said. “It is incredibly valuable to the people of the United States of America that President Putin and President Trump continue to engage in dialogue to resolve the difficult issues that our two countries face between each other.”

“I think that it makes enormous sense and I’m very hopeful that that meeting will take place this fall,” Pompeo said.