Washington and Moscow announced details for the summit on Thursday. The meeting between Presidents Trump and Vladimir Putin will take place on July 16 in Helsinki.
What’s On the Agenda?
John Bolton, the U.S. National Security Adviser, met with Russian officials on Wednesday. Afterward, the two governments states that the summit will focus on issues between the two countries. On Wednesday, Putin also expressed an interest in discussing regional issues. These will no doubt be part of the summit as the U.S. has expressed displeasure at some of Russia’s recent actions.
The U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 after it annexed Crimea. It sanctioned Russia again when they supported separatists trying to overthrow the Ukrainian government. There’s no doubt that President Putin will try to get Trump to reduce the current sanctions.
Trump expressed his goodwill regarding the meeting. He said that it’s good for the U.S. and the world for us to keep good relations with Russia, China, and every other nation. He also agreed that he would speak to Putin about Russia’s relationship to Syria and Ukraine.
The final matter for discussion will be Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 American Presidential election. This, however, might be a difficult matter to discuss, as the Department of Justice’s investigation is not complete.
President Trump continues to deny that he colluded with Russian operatives to win the election. The investigation, led by Robert Mueller, is seeking to prove whether he did. The government has already charged some of Trump’s campaign and personal staff members with collusion. The question is whether they were acting on Trump’s orders or with his knowledge.
Why Helsinki, Finland?
Finland, a near neighbor to Russia, has always succeeded in keeping friendly relations with both the U.S. and Russia. It is also a tradition for American and Russian leaders to meet there.
In 1975, President Gerald Ford met the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in Finland. President George H. Bush met with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev the in 1990. And in 1997, Helsinki hosted the meeting between President Bill Clinton and President Boris Yeltsin. All of these meetings were successful, serving as a positive precedent for the current summit.