Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has invited his American counterpart Donald Trump to Moscow for talks on a range of issues but that all conditions needed to be right for such a meeting to take place.
“I am ready to go to Washington. I repeat once again, if the right conditions for work are created,” Putin told reporters on Friday after a summit of the leaders of the BRICS group – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He added that telephone calls between he and Trump were not sufficient and that the two sides are ready for further summits.
Both sides needed to meet to talk about issues like the historic Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), conflicts in the Middle East, and arms control treaties, the Russian leader said.
“Regarding our meetings, I understand very well what President Trump said. He has a desire to have further meetings, to hold further meetings. I am ready for that. We need for the appropriate conditions to exist, to be created, including in our countries,” he added.
Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in 2015 and that he planned to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on Tehran.
Earlier this month, the US and Russian presidents held their much anticipated summit in the Finnish capital of Helsinki and said they would build up on the meeting to have more dialogue in the future.
After the meeting with his Russian counterpart, the US president faced a storm of criticism for his handling of the meeting.
“I’ve seen Russian intelligence manipulate many people over my professional career and I never would have thought that the US president would become one of the ones getting played by old KGB hands,” said Texas Republican representative Will Hurd on July 16, joining a large number of Democrats, Republicans and the intelligence community members criticizing Trump.
Putin once again reaffirmed his readiness to meet Trump, saying, “We are ready for such meetings. We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. By all means. By the way, he has such an invitation, I told him about that.”
The Russian leader also spoke about the possibility of meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, or another international event.
Pointing to the backlash inside Washington after Trump’s performance at the Helsinki summit, Putin said: “Despite the difficulties, in this particular case difficulties linked to the internal political situation in the United States, life goes on and our contacts continue.”
White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday that the US president and his Russian counterpart would not hold a meeting in the near future as it had been announced previously, at least not until next year.
Bolton blamed the delay on the probe into Trump’s alleged collusion with Moscow in the wake of the 2016 election in the United States, Politico reported.
Bolton’s announcement came few days after President Trump called the ongoing investigation into his alleged dealings with Russia during the 2016 US presidential election “a big hoax,” saying it’s his predecessor, Barack Obama, who needs to be probed for not taking action against Moscow.
Trump said that Obama was fully aware of the alleged Russian interference but did not take action because he thought Trump was never going to defeat his Democratic Party rival, Hillary Clinton.