U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday said he hoped President-elect Donald Trump could stand up to Russia when needed, and would take a constructive approach to cooperating with Moscow where interests aligned.
"In order for us to solve many big problems around the world, it is in our interest to work with Russia," Obama told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"My hope is that the president-elect coming in takes a similarly constructive approach, finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia where our values and interests align, but that the president-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia when they are deviating from our values and international norms," Obama said.
He added it was important for sanctions imposed against Russia over its actions in eastern Ukraine to remain in place until Moscow complied with the Minsk peace agreement.
Obama, asked if he thought Merkel should run for a fourth term as chancellor, said he considered her an outstanding leader and would vote for Merkel, if he were a German citizen.
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers, Paul Carrel, Joseph Nasr and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Caroline Copley)