Trump team denies report he will meet Putin at summit
Donald Trump’s spokeswoman and the Kremlin denied Sunday a report that the US President-elect’s first foreign trip after taking office would be a summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The Sunday Times in London, citing unnamed British officials it said had been informed of the plan, said Trump would seek to “reset” relations with the Kremlin, naming Iceland the likely venue.
But Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told AFP the report was “completely false.”
The newspaper said the meeting would emulate Ronald Reagan’s Reykjavik talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986 during the Cold War.
Trump, who will be inaugurated on Friday, would begin work on a deal limiting nuclear weapons as part of his bid to reset relations between the two powers, the report said.
The Sunday Times, again citing unnamed sources, said Moscow was set to agree to a Trump-Putin summit.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday that “for the moment there has been no discussion about a meeting,” according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Iceland said it was not aware of such a plan but indicated willingness to host a summit to help improve relations between Washington and Moscow.
“The Icelandic government has not received a query with regards to this,” Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson said in reply to a question from the mbl.is news website.
“If officials in Washington DC make a formal request for the Icelandic government to organize a summit in Reykjavik we will look at it positively and make this our input to improve relations between the US and Russia, remember the summit at Hofdi house in 1986,” he said.
Trump has expressed admiration for Putin, and only belatedly accepted US intelligence’s conclusion that hackers acting on the Russian strongman’s authority interfered in November’s elections.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Friday, Trump hinted he may lift sanctions imposed on Russia over Moscow’s alleged cyberattacks, if Russia helps the US on key goals such as fighting jihadist groups.