Putin Says He’s Invited Trump To Moscow; White House ‘Open’ To Idea
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on July 27 that he has invited U.S. President Donald Trump to Moscow and that both he and Trump were ready for further summits.
Putin added that he is also ready to travel to Washington to meet Trump but said conditions need to be right for a meeting to take place.
Speaking to reporters at a summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries in South Africa on July 27, Putin said telephone calls between Moscow and Washington were insufficient.
"[Trump] has an invitation to Moscow. I have told him about it. I am ready to go to Washington, too, but, I repeat, only if corresponding conditions are created there," Putin said, without elaborating on what he meant by corresponding conditions.
Putin added that Russia and the United States also have plans for contacts at G20 summits and other international gatherings.
"So, despite all the difficulties, in this case the difficulties in the United States' domestic politics, our contacts continue," the Russian president said.
He said both he and Trump need to meet to talk about issues such as the Iran nuclear deal and global conflicts.
Putin stressed that his talks with Trump are "important" as they are relevant to "very many countries of the world, including the entire Europe."
Putin praised Trump for what he called "his eagerness to meet all his promises he made to voters during his election campaign."
He said that among the key points of the BRICS summit's joint declaration was the "nonacceptance of economic sanctions" imposed on Russia by the U.S. and European Union in response to Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and for supporting separatists in Ukraine's east, where more than 10,300 people have died in the conflict.
In response, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on July 27 that Trump "looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation."
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he was considering the possibility of the first talks in years between the defense chiefs of the United States and Russia.
Separately, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on July 27 that U.S. national security adviser John Bolton may meet the secretary of Russia's Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, by the end of summer.
Putin and Trump met in Helsinki last week, but Trump faced harsh criticism in the United States from Republicans and Democrats alike who said he sided with Russia over the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies that Moscow had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, said on July 25 that the U.S. president wants to meet with Putin at the White House in 2019 -- after the Justice Department's probe into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election has been completed.
Bolton said in a statement that Trump believes the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we've agreed it will be after the first of the year.
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.