On Monday, President Donald Trump said that even though he and Russian President Vladimir Putin will both be in Paris for the Armistice Day commemoration on November 11, they would “probably not” hold a meeting. The Kremlin on Tuesday contradicted Trump and said Putin does expect to meet briefly with him in Paris.
National Security Advisor John Bolton floated the possibility of a meeting in Paris several weeks ago, fresh from his own meeting with Putin in Moscow. Bolton said Putin suggested meeting with Trump in Paris for the first time since their Helsinki summit in July. Bolton replied that President Trump would “look forward” to such a meeting.
On his way to a political rally in Cleveland on Monday, President Trump said he wanted to improve relations with Russia (and China), but would “probably not” meet with Putin in Paris.
“We haven’t set anything up yet. We don’t know that that’s going to be the right place. I’m going to be in Paris for other reasons, but we will be meeting at the G-20 and probably will have meetings after that,” Trump said. The G-20 summit will be held in Argentina beginning on November 30.
The Kremlin on Tuesday countered that President Putin does expect to meet briefly with Trump in Paris on Armistice Day, which is an especially significant date this year because it marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quite insistent the meeting would take place, explaining that it would be a brief talk because the centenary observance of Armistice Day would be such a busy event.
“They will certainly meet,” said Peskov.
“Indeed, the circumstances have changed. The multilateral format of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One makes it impossible to hold a longer meeting between the two presidents,” he added.
Peskov previously stated the Kremlin expects a “long and thorough meeting” between Trump and Putin at the G-20 summit, with Trump’s plan to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty high on the list of discussion topics. The U.S. has accused Russia of repeatedly violating the Cold War-era treaty.