White House officials are making plans for a possible summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The report, citing a senior administration official, said U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, has been in Washington to help schedule the meeting.
“This has been an ongoing project of Ambassador Huntsman, stretching back months, of getting a formal meeting between Putin and Trump,” the official said.
People familiar with the plans said the purpose of the summit would be to address long-standing differences between the two countries.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the intent of helping Trump win. The findings have led to a special counsel investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia. Trump has denied any collusion.
The U.S. also has denounced Russia’s alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has expressed opposition to Moscow’s military intervention in eastern Ukraine.
Tensions between Washington and Moscow escalated in March when the U.S. and dozens of other nations ordered Russian diplomats to leave their countries after a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in the United Kingdom with a military-grade nerve agent. Russia has denied responsibility and has accused the U.S. of coordinating an extortion plan.
Regarding the potential summit, the official said a lot of planning still must be done, including setting a date and location.
If the summit does take place, it would be the third meeting between the two leaders. They met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit last July in Hamburg, Germany, and in November at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.
Trump currently is focusing on a planned June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The senior administration official said if negotiations with North Korea continue, plans for the summit with Russia will be delayed.
Trump has said a number of times he would like to improve relations with Russia.