Putin, Trump to address reporters in Helsinki: Kremlin

The Kremlin’s spokesman said today Russian President Vladimir Putin and US leader Donald Trump would address reporters after their Helsinki summit next week but were not obliged to make a joint statement.

“There will be a joint press conference of the two presidents,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters, referring to Monday’s meeting, the first summit between Putin and Trump.

“And no, a joint statement is not an obligatory attribute of such meetings. The presidents will make statements based on the results of the summit.”

Russian daily Kommersant said earlier this week that the countries had been preparing to sign a two-page joint statement on the importance of maintaining dialogue between the two leaders, diplomats, the military and security services, among other things.

At the same time Washington wanted to put on paper its concerns over Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 president election in the United States, the newspaper said, citing unnamed US officials.

Washington also wanted Russia to spell out guarantees in the statement — or a separate document — that Russia would not interfere in future US elections, Kommersant said.

Moscow has repeatedly said it has never interfered in US elections. The United States is due to hold mid-term elections in November.

The two leaders will meet after Trump’s visit to Britain where he has criticised Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, and Brussels where he blasted NATO allies over their levels of defence spending.

US-Russian relations have suffered from years of disagreement over the Syrian conflict, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its involvement in eastern Ukraine.

More recently ties have been strained by a probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and suspected collusion with the Trump campaign, as well as by the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

But since coming to power last year, Trump has sought to improve relations with Putin amid tensions between Moscow and the West.

The last, brief meeting between Putin and Trump took place in November 2017 in Vietnam during an APEC summit.

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