Russian president Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump have a full agenda for their likely encounter on the sidelines of a Pacific nations’ summit this week, the Kremlin said.
Mr Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said the Russian leader will meet Mr Trump during sessions of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting which opens on Friday in Danang, Vietnam.
Mr Ushakov said the US and Russian leaders may also have an “extensive” one-on-one meeting, although a specific time has not been set.
“There are things to discuss and we are ready for it,” Mr Ushakov said, adding that the agenda would include the Syrian war, the stand-off over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, and a crisis in bilateral ties.
Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian and US officials are trying to carve out a time slot for the two leaders to meet separately. The probability for a face-to-face meeting of the two presidents is “quite high”, Mr Peskov said.
He said Mr Putin discussed preparations for the summit with members of the presidential Security Council today. Moscow’s hopes for an improvement of Russia-US relations under Mr Trump have been scuttled by the ongoing investigations into alleged collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
The pair first met in July at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Since then, dealings between the two countries have become more strained, with US congress imposing new sanctions on Russia, Moscow capping the number of US diplomatic personnel in Russia, and the closure of Russian diplomatic offices by the US.
Mr Putin has blamed Mr Trump’s political foes in the US for preventing him from fulfilling his campaign promise to forge a better relationship, and said Russia remains open to cooperating with Washington. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov struck a similar note, saying on Wednesday in Vietnam that the effort to improve bilateral ties fell victim to US political infighting.
In televised remarks, Mr Lavrov said: “We may reach agreements, but regrettably they immediately become an element of internal political fighting, internal political games aimed to make President Trump’s life and activities as difficult as possible.”