American President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold their first summit July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.
Both sides confirmed the meeting plans Thursday. The announcement came a day after Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton met with Russian officials in Moscow.
Bolton told reporters in Moscow that Trump sent him to the city to prepare for a possible summit. During his visit, Bolton met with Putin and other high-level officials.
So far, Putin has held two brief meetings with Trump while attending international meetings last year.
“There are a wide range of issues despite the differences between us where both President Trump and President Putin feel they can find constructive solutions,” Bolton said. A White House statement said the two leaders would discuss relations between the nations and “a range of national security issues.”
In the past, Bolton has been highly critical of Russia. He once accused Russia of carrying out “a true act of war” by using cyber methods to try to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia denies any activities aimed at interfering in the election.
When asked about his past statements about Russia, Bolton said they had no effect on his current position as National Security Adviser.
Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday that talks with Putin would include the situations in Syria and Ukraine and “many other subjects.” He said, “getting along with Russia and with China and with everybody is a very good thing. It’s good for the world. It’s good for us. It’s good for everybody.”
During Wednesday’s meeting with Bolton, Putin said U.S.-Russian relations had clearly reached a low point. But, he said the talks “at least take the first step to reviving” full ties.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to meet with American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the coming weeks to further prepare for the summit.
Finland has been a favored place for U.S.-Russian summits since the Cold War period. A 1975 meeting was held there between American President Gerald Ford and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev also held a summit there. In 1997, American President Bill Clinton met Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Helsinki.
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