MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin called for “constructive dialogue” with Antonio Guterres at a meeting on Thursday with the incoming secretary-general of the United Nations. Putin said that Russia “has always supported and supports strengthening [the United Nation’s]leading role in international affairs, in conflict-resolution, in the struggle for human rights”, according to a Kremlin statement. Putin added that he hoped he would have the “same constructive dialogue” as with his predecessor Ban Ki-moon. Guterres, former prime minister of Portugal, meanwhile said he recognised Russia’s “decisive role not only in the framework of the United Nations but in all other aspects of international relations.” “The fundamental conditions for me to be useful to the international community rest in my having constructive relations with a country like the Russian Federation,” the statement quoted Guterres as saying. Guterres, who also served as UN refugee chief, begins his five-year term as UN secretary-general on January 1.