US President Donald Trump is eager to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin when the two are in Germany for a multinational summit next month.
Trump and some others within his administration have been pressing for a full bilateral meeting. He's calling for media access and all the typical protocol associated with such sessions, even as officials within the State Department and National Security Council urge more restraint, according to a current and a former administration official.
Many administration officials also believe the U.S. needs to maintain its distance from Russia at such a sensitive time - and interact only with great caution, Associated Press reported.
Some advisers have recommended that the president instead do either a quick, informal "pull-aside" on the sidelines of the summit, or that the U.S. and Russian delegations hold "strategic stability talks," which typically don't involve the presidents. The officials spoke anonymously to discuss private policy discussions.
The contrasting views underscore differing views within the administration on overall Russia policy, and Trump's eagerness to develop a working relationship with Russia despite the ongoing investigations.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last week that a meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin is possible on the sidelines of the G20.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today that no specific decisions have been made yet concerning the upcoming meeting between the Presidents in Hamburg.
"Protocol aspects are of secondary importance in this case, since it will be the first time that the two presidents will have a chance to meet. The Russian presidential spokesman pointed out that "one way or another, they [Putin and Trump] will be participating in the same event taking place in one city, so there will be a chance to meet," he noted.
"I believe that Russia will be ready to agree to the format that will suit the United States, and vice versa," Peskov stressed. He also said that everybody should wait for the G20 summit scheduled to be held in the German city of Hamburg on July 7-8.
The director of the Center for Political Information, Alexei Mukhin, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Trump has two reasons to announce the preparation of a full-fledged meeting with Vladimir Putin. "First of all, Trump wants to tease his opponents, as recently he de facto fulfilled their wishes, and does not pursue an independent policy. I think Trump is sick of it. Second, in addition to the anti-Russian lobby, there are groups in the US, advocating the restoration of cooperation with Russia, primarily business, like ExxonMobil," he said.
"I think that Donald Trump, as a president-businessman understands the aspirations of these groups and tries to realize their wishes as well, while fulfilling the promises he made during the pre-election campaign. The issue of fulfilling pre-election promises is very serious for Trump now. While a full-fledged meeting with the Russian president will not affect the domestic political situation of the US, because it will take more than one meeting to somehow change the situation that exists now in relations between Russia and the US," Aleksei Mukhin stressed.
For Russia, full-fledged negotiations between the presidents would be useful in terms of their personal acquaintance. "It is interesting for Moscow to get acquainted with President Trump personally. Nothing much will change in terms of an objective situation," the director of the Center for Political Information warned, adding that such a demonstrative behavior by Trump would provoke Russophobic hysteria among his opponents.
The deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University, Andrei Suzdaltsev, in turn, noted that Trump diverges in the vision of the world order with the State Department. "The State Department proceeds from the position of keeping the unipolar world, representing Russia as a revisionist, with which the US needs to have a tough dialogue. But there are other forces in Washington, there are Trump advisers, guided by the domestic political situation and the situation in the US political market, where Russia Is actively used as a weapon for the factional struggle between parties," he pointed out.
"Trump's full-fledged meeting with Putin will show that the US president considers the internal aspects of his positioning and wants Russia to be beaten out of the hands of democrats as a weapon. And it is a very positive moment that Trump is set to have full-fledged negotiations. Their result, of course, is also unpredictable, but it will deal a heavy blow to the president's domestic opponents.And, of course, it will open even more opportunities for strikes on Trump, which is why he takes a very tough position," Andrei Suzdaltsev said.
As for Russia, a full meeting will be useful for Moscow as the beginning of a direct dialogue with new Washington. "We cannot constantly demonstrate that we are in the stage of confrontation. And even if this meeting of the presidents ends with nothing or even an even greater confrontation, at least we will start a dialogue," the deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University concluded.