Putin wants to meet Trump before July’s G20 summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he wants to meet with President Donald Trump before the G20 summit in July and hopes for warmer relations with the United States.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and President of Iceland Gudni Johannesson at a session called "Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" at the International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia. Photo by Sergei Karpukhin/pool/EPA
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and President of Iceland Gudni Johannesson at a session called “Arctic: Territory of Dialogue” at the International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia. Photo by Sergei Karpukhin/pool/EPA

“We have a lot of things to discuss in economy, security and regional conflicts. We’re ready for discussions and talks but the other side should demonstrate and manifest their goodwill and readiness for constructive cooperation and work,” Putin said during the International Arctic Forum sponsored by CNBC in Arkhangelsk, Russia.

The forum was first established in 2010 to discuss issues involving the Arctic region.
Finnish President Sauli Niinist√∂ earlier in the forum said he would be “very pleased” to host a summit once Finland takes over running the Arctic Council.

“To host a summit you have to have also something to say out of that summit, and we want to surely see how the situation is going on, how the discussions are going on, whether we find some new common points of view and then surely we’d be very proud to have such a summit,” Niinist√∂ said.

Putin agreed.

“Helsinki would be an appropriate venue for organizing such events,” Putin said. “If it happens we would be glad to participate and I would be glad to attend.

“If not, probably in the format of regular meetings in G20 we’ll have that event, that meeting.”

The G20 summit is scheduled for July 7-8 in Hamburg, Germany.

Putin said he hopes for good relations with the United States and its new president.

“Opinion polls in the United States show that very many people are … friendly towards the Russian Federation, and I’d like to tell these people that we perceive and regard the United States as a great power with which we want to establish good partnership relations,” Putin said.

He recalled colder relations with the United States.

“Do we want to completely cut relations?” Putin said. “Do we want to bring the situation to what it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s?”

Putin reiterated Thursday that allegations that Russians meddled in the 2016 U.S. election are “endless and groundless.”

“All those things are fictional, illusory and provocations, lies,” Putin said. “All these are used for domestic American political agendas. The anti-Russian card is played by different political forces inside the United States to trade on that and consolidate their positions inside.”

One difference between Putin and the Trump administration is on environmental issues.

The Russian president said during the forum: “I think we need to talk about not concern, but about finding compromises” on the environment.

On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order that rolls back environmental regulations from the Obama administration.

Putin said Russia intends to continue complying with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The Trump administration has yet to decide whether it intends to withdraw from the international agreement.

By Allen Cone