Trump says he, Putin won’t meet this weekend
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he will not meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russia this weekend, contradicting the Kremlin, which said earlier in the day that the two would have a discussion while in Paris for an unrelated gathering of world leaders.
The on-again, off-again meeting has been the subject of confusion and conflicting reports in recent weeks. At one point last month, the two sides indicated that the presidents would meet in Paris, then Trump said earlier this week that they would probably not, then the Kremlin said Wednesday that they would at least meet briefly during lunch on Sunday.
At a news conference at the White House later Wednesday, Trump said that was not the case. They would both attend a lunch for world leaders scheduled on Sunday, he said, but were not set to have a conversation.
“I don’t think we have anything scheduled in Paris, and I’m coming back very quickly,” the president said. “I don’t think we have time set aside for that meeting.”
Instead, Trump said he expects to sit down with Putin later in the month in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Group of 20.
“That’s where we’re actually looking forward to meet,” Trump said.
Whenever it takes place, it would be the first meeting between the American and Russian presidents since they got together in Helsinki in July – when Trump, with Putin at his side, publicly challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election. After bipartisan condemnation back home, Trump said he misspoke.
Trump and Putin are both scheduled to travel to Paris for a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. But French officials had asked the Americans and Russians not to hold the meeting between the presidents for fear that it would overshadow their event.
“The French partners actively brought their concerns to the Russian and U.S. sides and, with these considerations in mind, Washington and Moscow decided against holding a full-scale meeting of the presidents,” Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, told reporters in Moscow.
But Ushakov said Putin and Trump will meet during a lunch on Sunday and then have “a more detailed conversation” in Buenos Aires.