Trump and Putin will meet on 16 July in the Finnish capital Helsinki to mend bilateral relations and discuss a range of national security issues, the White House and the Kremlin had announced yesterday.
The announcement followed a meeting between President Putin and US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who was in Moscow this week to lay the groundwork for the summit.
“We’re looking forward to it. If we could all get along it would be great. The world has to start getting along,” Trump told reporters traveling with him in Wisconsin yesterday.
His spokesperson asserted that Trump is meeting Putin because he believes that this is in the national interest.
“The president is pursuing this meeting in the interest of America’s national security to determine whether Russia is willing to make progress in our relationship,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Trump, she said, hopes that the meeting can help reduce tensions and lead to constructive engagement that improves peace and security around the world. The 16 July Helsinki meeting would be the first US-Russia summit under the Trump Administration.
From the beginning of his presidential campaign, Trump has insisted that he wants to have a better relationship with Russia and that it is good for the US and the world.
However, he has been facing a backlash from the Opposition Democrats and the think-tank community who believe that Russia under Putin interferred in the 2016 presidential election. Moscow has denied the allegations.