Trump, Putin To Meet In Paris Next Month

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on October 24th, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart  Vladimir Putin are scheduled to have a full-fledged meeting in Paris on Nov. 11, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said Tuesday.

“This arrangement was confirmed by our president at his meeting with Bolton,” Ushakov told reporters.

Earlier in the day, Putin met with visiting U.S. national security advisor John Bolton, who also held consultations with Russian representatives of foreign policy and military political teams.

According to Ushakov, a preliminary agreement has been reached on arranging a comprehensive and well-prepared meeting between the presidents in Paris on the sidelines of events marking the centenary of the end of World War I.

Members of Russian and U.S. delegations will also attend the meeting, Ushakov said.

During his talks with Bolton, Putin said it would be useful to continue direct dialogue with Trump, such as the “fruitful” meeting held in Helsinki.

On July 16, Putin and Trump held their first one-on-one meeting in the Finish capital, which both sides considered as the first step toward better relations between the two countries.

The Russian president also said that Moscow wishes to seek common ground in its bilateral relations with Washington.

“Despite different approaches, one can and needs to seek this common ground, as it seems to me,” Putin said.

Echoing Putin’s remarks, Bolton welcomed the upcoming meeting between the presidents and underlined the significance of cooperation.

Bolton, following a one-on-one meeting with Putin in Moscow, confirmed that the Russian president suggested the leaders meet to continue discussions between the two, adding that they agreed to the date of Nov. 11 in Paris, which coincides with the Armistice Day commemoration.

“I said yes, in fact, that President Trump would look forward to meeting with him in Paris,” Bolton, who has been in Moscow for two days of high-level talks, told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.

“Despite our differences, which exist because of our different national interests, it is still important to work in areas where there is a possibility of mutual cooperation,” he said.

Trump is scheduled to travel to Paris to commemorate Armistice Day on Nov. 11, which marks the end of World War I. The trip will come just days after the U.S.’s midterm elections.

The meeting would be the first face-to-face between the two leaders since the duo’s Helsinki summit in July. Trump was roundly criticized for his friendliness toward Putin at the summit and for his remarks casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s election interference in 2016, which he later walked back.

Bolton arrived in Moscow earlier this week for a series of high-level talks with Russian officials on a range of issues, including Syria, Iran and Russia’s election interference.

Russia-U.S. relations have worsened in recent years over a number of disputes including the Ukrainian conflict and Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Despite the friendly atmosphere of the July summit, bilateral ties have not improved much. In August, Washington imposed a new round of sanctions against Russia and warned of the possibility of another round of stern restrictions in November. Moscow, in turn, vowed retaliation.

The trip comes at a point of high tensions between the U.S. and Russia, despite Trump’s wish to improve relations with Moscow to work on areas of mutual concern.

Trump announced over the weekend that the United States plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, a landmark nuclear arms pact with Russia signed in 1987 that Moscow has been accused of violating –  once again flaring up tensions between the two sides.

“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years,” Trump told reporters Saturday before departing from a political rally in Nevada.

“And I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to,” he said.

The move drew ire from Moscow and demands for an explanation.

Bolton defended Trump’s decision in his meetings with the Russians, telling reporters Tuesday that Russian violations of the treaty had run “long and deep” and were a “major factor” in the decision to withdraw.

“It is the American position that Russia is in violation. It’s the Russian position that they are not in violation,” Bolton said. “It’s not like this is a new subject.”

Bolton’s trip was intended to carry on the discussions between Putin and Trump in July. Over two days, Bolton met with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev, as well as Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu. He met with Putin on Tuesday.

Bolton told reporters that he raised the issue of Russia’s election meddling in the meeting with Putin.

“We discussed our continuing concern with Russian meddling in elections and why it was particularly harmful of Russian-American relations without producing anything for them in return,” Bolton said.

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