Donald Trump is to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in his first foreign trip as U.S president, according to sources.
According to reports this will happen within weeks of Donald Trump being inaugurated as president. It is a similar move to when Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Regan met soon after Regan was inaugurated in 1986.
The idea of the summit is to restart and rebuild relations between the two countries, with possible deals to limit nuclear weapons being thrashed out.
Donald Trump has said he would consider dropping sanctions on Russia if the country agreed to work with the U.S on key objectives, such as tackling terrorism. Trump said, “I understand that they [the Russians] would like to meet, and that’s absolutely fine with me.”
One source close to the president-elect said, “The idea of a summit with Putin is definitely on the cards. The Russians are also keen on it.”
Playing Putin’s Ego
One of Trump’s advisers said the U.S had leverage as Putin wants to be a player on the world stage. He said, “What does Putin want? Prestige — centre stage at the summit, the one-on-one meeting, the hand on the back from Trump. That gives the US tremendous leverage. Mr Trump is master of the photo op and he will use that skill.”
According to The Times newspaper, Britain is not so happy about Trump and Putin developing close ties. Britain has called for sanctions on Russia over Syria and Ukraine and it has sought reassurances from the CIA that British agents will be protected when intelligence is shared.
One British intelligence source said, “Until we have established whether Trump and senior members of his team can be trusted, we’re going to hold back. Putting it bluntly, we can’t risk betraying sources and methods to the Russians.”
Theresa May is set to meet with Trump in February. The feeling is that the British government is fearing it could be left out in the cold.