Reagan and Gorbachev signing the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
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One man who knows a great deal about Washington-Moscow summits is not ready to call the latest one in Helsinki a failure, despite its confused aftermath. From 1985 to 1991, across 10 summits that brought the Cold War to an end and ushered in unprecedented cooperation between Washington and Moscow, Pavel Palazhchenko was a constant presence as chief interpreter for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.So when U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin took to their podiums in Helsinki last week, Palazhchenko was watching from Moscow to see how the latest chapter in the story would unfold.Palazhchenko declined to call Helsinki an outright failure, even though after the meeting Trump walked back comments saying that he believed Putin when the Russian leader says that Russia was not involved in election meddling in the United States. Palazhchenko did concede there was a lack of clarity on exactly what the two world leaders agreed upon.Palazhchenko stressed that the U.S.-Russian relationship was simply too important – to each side and to the world – for Russia and the United States not to talk.
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