Putin says he has invited Trump to Moscow

JOHANNESBURG • Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that he had invited US President Donald Trump to Moscow and that both he and Mr Trump were ready for further summits.

But the Russian leader said conditions needed to be right for a meeting to take place.

The two leaders met in Helsinki earlier this month at a summit, but Mr Trump faced a storm of criticism back home for his handling of the meeting.

The US leader stoked further anger when he invited Mr Putin to Washington later this year.

The White House announced this week that the next summit would be postponed until next year.

Speaking to reporters at a summit of Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries in South Africa, Mr Putin said the two leaders needed to see each other face to face to discuss a host of issues like the Iran nuclear deal, conflicts in the Middle East and arms-control treaties.

"Contacts at the highest political level are needed," Mr Putin said. "You cannot discuss everything by phone."

He said that the two leaders planned to meet on the sidelines of a summit in Argentina later this year and possibly at other venues.

"I am ready to go to Washington," he told reporters, adding that he had also invited Mr Trump to visit Moscow.

"He has a desire to conduct meetings in the future and I am ready," Mr Putin said, stressing, however, that conditions should be in place for such events to go ahead.

Referring to the backlash inside the US after Mr Trump's performance at the Helsinki summit, Mr 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."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2018, with the headline 'Putin says he has invited Trump to Moscow'. Print Edition | Subscribe