Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in South Africa at a summit for leaders of developing nations, said Friday that he is “ready” to visit Washington so he can meet again with President Donald Trump, but “conditions” must be right, reports CBS News. Putin also shared that despite the fallout from their last meeting in Helsinki, which he knows that Trump did take a lot of flack over, that high-level talks between the two countries have continued. He also laid out how he feels about future meetings when he spoke with Reuters, according to CBS News.
“We are ready for such meetings. We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. By all means. By the way, he has such an invitation, I told him about that… I am ready to go to Washington. I repeat once again, if the right conditions for work are created.”
The Russian leader, who has ruled his country for the last couple of decades, spoke of the American president in glowing terms, showing that he admires him at least on one front.
“You can criticize him for what he is doing, and some people do criticize him, however, one thing remains absolutely clear — he is committed to fulfilling his campaign promises.”
On Friday, White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, shared that her boss is open to Putin’s request and thinks that Putin will bend up visiting Washington sometime early next year, reports NBC News.
“President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation,” Sanders said.
As for the meeting in Washington, Putin didn’t reveal what those special conditions have to be in order for him to feel like this next meeting can become a reality. The timing of it being in early 2019 may have something to do with National Security Advisor John Bolton’s comments Wednesday in which he said that it needed to wait until special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is over, though his words weren’t as diplomatic.
“The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year.”
It is unclear if he has knowledge that it will end by then or if it’s simply wishful thinking on his and the president’s parts. Either way, the use of “witch hunt” by Bolton was a bit of a surprise to most inside and outside of the Beltway.