Harper and Putin talk tough on trade, Mideast, but warm up over hockey

Mark MacKinnon
Vladivostok, Russia — The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Sep. 08 2012, 7:49 AM EDT
Last updated Saturday, Sep. 08 2012, 4:08 PM EDT

‘There’s lots of things that Mr. Putin and our government do not necessarily agree on, but our conversations are extremely frank on these issues,’ Canadian Prime Minister says.

At least there was hockey to talk about.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Russian President Vladimir Putin reminisced briefly but warmly about the epochal hockey series 40 years ago between Canada and the Soviet Union during a bilateral meeting Saturday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit.

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It was the only time the two leaders found common ground during a meeting marked by disagreements about policy toward Iran and Syria, as well as the unimpressive Canada-Russia trade relationship.

The meeting – the first tête-à-tête between Mr. Putin and Mr. Harper since 2007 – began awkwardly with Mr. Putin running more than an hour late because of a packed schedule of other bilateral meetings. Mr. Harper then made Mr. Putin wait several minutes before finally entering the meeting room to stiff smiles and handshakes.

continue reading: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/harper-and-putin-talk-tough-on-trade-mideast-but-warm-up-over-hockey/article4529251/

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