Trump and Putin discuss arms race, welcome OPEC + oil deal

US President Donald Trump spoke to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday. (AP)
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Updated 07 May 2020

Trump and Putin discuss arms race, welcome OPEC + oil deal

  • Trump and Putin spoke by telephone and also discussed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump called on Thursday for involving China in new arms control talks with Russia, telling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that they need to avoid a "costly arms race," the White House said.

Trump and Putin spoke by telephone, also welcoming the recent OPEC+ oil deal as well as discussing the global coronavirus pandemic, the White House added.

"President Trump reaffirmed that the United States is committed to effective arms control that includes not only Russia, but also China, and looks forward to future discussions to avoid a costly arms race," a statement said.

"President Trump reiterated that the United States is working hard to care for Americans at home and is also ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia," the statement added.

In a readout of the phone call, the Kremlin said the two presidents had also discussed global oil markets, noting their support for last month's output deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, something they said had helped stabilise oil prices.

Russia and the US — rivals during the four decades of the Cold War — ripped up the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty this year, blaming one another for its demise. That deal was seen as a cornerstone of global security and its burial sparked fears of a new arms race.

Washington is threatening to quit the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or “New START,” when it expires next year.

New START — which obliged them to halve the number of missile launchers and set up a new verification regime — is seen as the last major deal keeping their arsenals below the Cold War peak.

However, Trump has been pushing for China to be brought into a future deal, arguing that Beijing’s missile and nuclear capability is rapidly expanding.

Notorious Abu Sayyaf leader arrested in Davao

Updated 10 min 55 sec ago

Notorious Abu Sayyaf leader arrested in Davao

  • Susukan was wanted in connection with numerous kidnappings and terrorist attacks

MANILA: The Philippine authorities announced late Thursday that Anduljihad Indang Susukan, a leader in the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), is now in police custody. Susukan had reportedly been seen earlier in the day in President Rodrigo Duterte’s home city of Davao.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said in a statement that Susukan was turned over to the local police at the residence of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari in Yñigue Subdivision, Maa, Davao City.
“We thank chairman Nur Misuari for facilitating the negotiation between the PNP, headed by Police Col. Kirby John Kraft, the Davao City director and (Susukan),” said Gamboa.
Upon learning of Susukan’s presence in the city, the PNP informed Davao’s mayor, Inday Sara Duterte, “who assured us of her full cooperation and assistance to ensure the peaceful handover and orderly transfer of custody to proper authorities,” Gamboa said.
Susukan has been arrested in connection with 23 murders, five kidnappings and illegal detentions, and six frustrated homicides. He is a member of the ASG faction led by Hadjan Sawadjaan, whom the US  has identified as the acting leader of Daesh in the Philippines.
The PNP said Susukan will undergo a medical examination at Camp Quintin Merecido Hospital before being transferred to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters in Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The military is investigating reports that Susukan had surrendered to Misuari in Jolo in the first week of August, according to AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman Maj. Arvin Encinas.
“We’re still verifying the information,” Encinas told Arab News. “Considering he did not surrender to government authorities, we still consider him an enemy. And even if he did surrender to Misuari, that does not give him amnesty. He is still liable for all his crimes.”
Citing intelligence sources, reports claimed Misuari had brought Susukan to Davao City for medical treatment, specifically to have him fitted with a prosthetic replacement for his left arm, which he lost last year during a shootout with government forces. According to Encinas, however, Susukan “was still in Jolo.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, told reporters there was no official confirmation of the ASG leader’s alleged presence in Davao City.
“I already talked to the commander of Eastern Mindanao Command. He was also unaware of why Misuari and Susukan (were) together in Davao City. Susukan is wanted by the military,” Lorenzana said. “I’m still awaiting the official report.”
Misuari, meanwhile, is expected to meet with President Duterte in the next few days. MNLF spokespeople were not available for comment at the time of writing.
Susukan is also wanted in Malaysia for involvement in cross-border crimes in the waters off the Malaysian state of Sabah on the northeast coast of Borneo. He has been charged with the murder of Malaysian national Bernard Then Ted Fen, who was kidnapped by ASG gunmen at a restaurant in Sabah in May 2015.