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Donald Trump considers working with Russia to accomplish his strategic goals but not at the cost of America's interests, a senior administration official has said.
"He's (Trump) been very clear on his desire with Russia. There's a lot of fever in this country about Russia and the Russians. Obviously it seems like they did do some bad things with regards to trying to interfere by doing the DNC hack and all those different things that's been reported on," the official said yesterday.
"But, he views the world through his strategic objectives area. To the degree that the Russians can work with him on accomplishing those strategic objectives he's going to work with him," the official said.
"Where our objectives are not aligned he's not going to not work with them. If they do things that he sees as aggressive and hostile towards American interests he will confront them. I would say Trump is not being rigid or dogmatic or closed-minded. I would say he's being very cautious in the way he approaches it.
"Like in Syria, for example, there might be some opportunity by working with Russia towards ending the conflict and creating de-escalation zones, and if we can accomplish that then he'll be very open-minded to that," the official said.
The senior official said when it comes to other issues, the US president will less flexible and open-minded and that the US and Russia have a lot of different interests in a lot of different places.
President Trump is scheduled a number of world leaders, including the new French President Emmanuel Macron, as he heads for his maiden foreign trip this week.
"For him it's going to be an opportunity to be able to spend time with a lot of these leaders. To have very candid conversations about what we've accomplished to date and how the world has changed and how the world is changing and where it has the potential to go," the official said.
The US is also making efforts to mediate talks between Israel and Palestine to ensure peace in the region and will assess the on ground situation during Trump's visit there.
Trump is scheduled to visit Jerusalem where he will meet Israeli President Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a day after that he will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem and convey America's interest to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict in the region, US National Security Advisor H R McMaster said on Tuesday.
"With regard to Israelis and Palestinians, we so far had great conversations with both parties. I think, we tried to show people that things are possible," the senior administration official said.
"We will do our assessment when we reach the region, but we are planning to meet Abbas and Netanyahu while we are there and see how it goes," the official said.