Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has invited his American counterpart Donald Trump to Moscow for talks on a range of issues but that all conditions needed to be right for such a meeting to take place.
“I am ready to go to Washington. I repeat once again, if the right conditions for work are created,” Putin told reporters on Friday after a summit of the leaders of the BRICS group – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He added that telephone calls between he and Trump were not sufficient and that the two sides are ready for further summits.
Both sides needed to meet to talk about issues like the historic Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), conflicts in the Middle East, and arms control treaties, the Russian leader said.
“Regarding our meetings, I understand very well what President Trump said. He has a desire to have further meetings, to hold further meetings. I am ready for that. We need for the appropriate conditions to exist, to be created, including in our countries,” he added.
Earlier this month, the US and Russian presidents held their much anticipated summit in the Finnish capital of Helsinki and said they would build up on the meeting to have more dialogue in the future.
After the meeting with his Russian counterpart, the US president faced a storm of criticism for his handling of the meeting.
“I’ve seen Russian intelligence manipulate many people over my professional career and I never would have thought that the US president would become one of the ones getting played by old KGB hands,” said Texas Republican representative Will Hurd on July 16, joining a large number of Democrats, Republicans and the intelligence community members criticizing Trump.
Putin once again reaffirmed his readiness to meet Trump, saying, “We are ready for such meetings. We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. By all means. By the way, he has such an invitation, I told him about that.”
The Russian leader also spoke about the possibility of meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, or another international event.
Pointing to the backlash inside Washington after Trump’s performance at the Helsinki summit, 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.”