MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin would be open to meeting with American counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday.
"Our American colleagues are sending us signs that they want to maintain contact," Sergei Lavrov said, after confirming that Putin was planning to attend the United Nations meeting next month.
"If there will be such a proposal (to meet) from their end, I think our President will consider it positively," Lavrov said in remarks broadcast on state television from Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Moscow annexed from Ukraine last March.
Russia and the West are locked in their bitterest standoff since the end of the Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine.
Putin and Obama last met one-on-one in November 2014 when they had a frosty and brief meeting on the sidelines of the Apec summit in China.
The US and Europe have slapped sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea and alleged support for a separatist uprising in east Ukraine.
Washington and Moscow are still deadlocked over the conflict in Ukraine but did cooperate in helping to hammer out a deal over Iran's nuclear deal in July.
September's General Assembly is set to draw together the most powerful leaders in the world as the global body celebrates 70 years since its founding.
According to preliminary schedules from the UN, Putin and Obama are expected to address delegates on the same day as China's Xi Jinping, Iran's Hassan Rouhani and France's Francois Hollande.