President Donald Trump ill meet president Putin next month(Photo: Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will hold a high stakes meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when he attends the G-20 summit in Germany next week, the White House said Thursday. National security adviser H.R. McMaster confirmed that the meeting is one of several Trump has scheduled when he is in Hamburg, Germany, next week.


— President Donald Trump is eager to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin with full diplomatic bells and whistles when the two are in Germany for a multinational summit next month. But the idea is exposing deep divisions within the administration on the best way to approach Moscow in the midst of an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. elections, reports Associated Press.

Full Diplomatic Bells

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Trump is eager to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin with full diplomatic bells and whistles when the two are in Germany for a multinational summit next month.

Many administration officials believe the U.S. needs to maintain its distance from Russia at such a sensitive time — and interact only with great caution. But 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.

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.

Attending Same Event

Asked about the AP report that Trump is eager for a full bilateral meeting, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Monday that «the protocol side of it is secondary.» The two leaders will be attending the same event in the same place at the same time, Peskov said, so «in any case there will be a chance to meet.» Peskov added, however, that no progress in hammering out the details of the meeting has been made yet.

The last U.S.-Russia bilateral meeting was a 2015 encounter between Putin and President Barack Obama that began with an awkward handshake and ended with progress on the brutal civil war in Syria. That 2015 meeting, the first in two years, involved a 90-minute sit-down at U.N. headquarters. Putin and U.S. officials later said the two leaders had made progress on issues related to Syria, which had strained their already tense relationship. For the Obama administration, cautious engagement was the name of the game, with the U.S. working tirelessly to find middle ground with Moscow on Syria, Ukraine and other issues.

Trump has to directly «say to Putin, ‘We’re not happy about you interfering in our election,'» said Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. «If you don’t say that, you are going to get hammered by the press and Congress and you can guarantee Congress will pass sanctions legislation against Russia.»

«They also need to keep their expectations very, very modest,» added Pifer. «If they aim for a homerun in Hamburg, my guess is they’ll strike out.»Associated Press writer Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

President Putin will be invited to meet Donald Trump in Europe next month(Photo: Associated Press)

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