Putin, Trump to meet in Helsinki on July 16: Kremlin

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Moscow, June 28 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump will hold a summit in Finland’s capital Helsinki on July 16, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

The two leaders are expected to discuss Russia-US relations as well as top international issues, according to the statement.

On Wednesday, Putin held a closed-door meeting with visiting US National Security Advisor John Bolton at the Kremlin and discussed details of the summit.

The summit may last several hours with the two Presidents having a tete-a-tete in the middle of the day and then together with their delegations, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said following the talks between Putin and Bolton, TASS news agency reported.

“They could agree on a joint statement outlining further steps from both sides to improve bilateral relations and joint action in the international arena to ensure global stability and security,” he said.

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Ushakov said Putin and Bolton discussed priority issues that the Presidents would address at the upcoming summit, in particular Syria and its humanitarian needs.

On Thursday, the White House also made a statement on the Trump-Putin summit. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the two leaders would discuss bilateral ties and a range of national security issues.

Trump’s summit with Putin is likely to draw criticism from the US President’s domestic critics, who accuse him of currying favour with the Russian leader, and jitter US allies, who fear Trump will take a less hawkish position with Russia on issues like the annexation of Crimea and military exercises near the Russian border in eastern Europe.

The summit will take place four days after a NATO meeting in Brussels, where Trump will meet leaders of US military allies.

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NATO members were worried that if the summit with Putin had taken place earlier, Trump might have agreed to something with the Russian leader that they would have been forced to go along with, said a CNN report.

–IANS

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