President Trump, Foreign Leaders Discuss Syria, Other Issues

On Monday, President Donald Trump discussed his country’s strategy in Syria with French President Emmanuel Macron and talked about economic issues with India’s and Canada’s leaders.

According to the White House, President Trump and his French counterpart spoke about the U.S.’ “plans for a strong, deliberate, and coordinated withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria” amid efforts by the administration to adjust the timetable for American forces leaving the war-torn country.

Trump denied that he had changed the timeline of the troops’ withdrawal from Syria, a surprise move he made last month. Administration officials said then that troops would begin leaving Syria in 30 days.

National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday that there would be a conditional withdrawal of troops, stressing that they will remain in the country until ISIS is fully defeated and the Trump administration receives assurances that U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters will be protected.

The White House said on Monday that President Trump also discussed plans to strengthen economic ties with India’s Narendra Modi over the phone. The two also talked about increasing “cooperation in Afghanistan.” President Trump has made clear his desire to put an end to the 17-year old war in Afghanistan, but the White House pointed out that he has not ordered that troops be pulled out of the country.

On Monday, Trump likewise had a call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with whom he discussed the detention of two Canadian citizens in China and trade issues. According to a statement issued by the Canadian prime minister’s office, the two men agreed to continue to seek the release of the detained Canadians.

Their arrest coincides closely with that of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, whom Canadian authorities detained at the beginning of December at the request of the United States. Trudeau’s office said he and Trump “discussed an extradition request made of Canada by the United States,” an apparent reference to the Huawei CFO while reaffirming “the importance of respecting judicial independence and the rule of law.”

Trump and Trudeau further discussed the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs imposed against Canada, the White House said.

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