Trump says he, Putin won’t meet this week­end

Belleville News-Democrat - - Nation & World - BY PETER BAKER New York Times

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.

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