President Donald Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his upcoming trip to Germany, White House officials announced Thursday.
Trump will meet with Putin sometime during the G20 summit in Hamburg, which Trump will attend after a brief trip to Poland. The G20 summit begins Friday.
“We have no specific agenda,” said national security adviser H.R. McMaster. “It’s really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about.”
Gary Cohn, Trump’s national economic adviser, also indicated the plans for the meeting were fluid.
“We don’t have an agenda set up for these meetings right now,” he said.
Vagueness also ruled on the Russian side.
“They will meet” on the sidelines of the G-20, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.
“If we are speaking about preparations for a separate meeting with Trump, no preparations are being made for any separate meeting at the moment. There is no progress yet,” he said, reflecting a lack of consensus whether the meeting between the two leaders would be brief and informal or a more formal session.
McMaster said that during Trump’s various meetings on the trip, he hopes to develop “a common approach to Russia” and for America’s European allies to “develop a more constructive relationship with Russia, but he’s also made clear that we will do what is necessary to confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior.”
Trump will focus on containing Russia’s “destabilizing behavior … and come up with a strategy to do that,” McMaster said.
“Nobody wants a major power at war. What is it that we have to be able to put in place to be able to deter conflict?” he said.
McMaster said Russia will be treated like every other nation.
“Our relationship with Russia is no different than any other country,” said McMaster, who said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has played a lead role in the relationship between the two countries.
McMaster said Trump’s national security team has a three-pronged mission from the president in dealing with Russia: confronting its “destabilizing behavior,” including hacking and election interference; deterring Moscow from war; and developing areas of cooperation.
“We’re engaged in wide-ranging discussions about irritants and problems in the relationship and areas to explore common interests and opportunities,” McMaster said.
During Thursday’s media briefing, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked whether Trump would confront Putin about Russian hacking in the 2016 election.
“Obviously I’m not gonna get ahead of the president’s conversation,” she said.
Source: Western Journalism