The Russians are playing down speculation of an early summit meeting between Russian President Putin and US President Trump.
President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov is reported to have told the BBC that a meeting is months away, and that preparations for it have not even begun. Supposedly, they cannot begin until after Putin has telephoned Trump to congratulate him on becoming US President.
This is what RT reports Peskov as having said in part
It won’t happens in a matter of weeks. Let’s hope that it can happen in months to come. President Putin will call President Trump after the inauguration to congratulate him. It’s a protocol thing that has to be done,” he said. “We expect that they may discuss their positions on a possible meeting.
Delaying the calling of the summit meeting for so long was certainly not the original plan. The clear impression after the election was that Trump and Putin wanted to meet as soon as possible. Indeed the tense international situation arguably calls for that.
The reason for the delay is the hysterical campaign conducted by the Obama administration, the Democrats, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the CIA, alleging that Donald Trump was Putin’s ‘Siberian Candidate’. The effect of this campaign is that it put contacts between Donald Trump’s transition team and the Russian government on hold, as both strove to avoid any hint they were working together, which might give extra force to the campaign. The result was that no discussions on agreeing the details of the summit could take place.
In saying this, I should stress that it is entirely normally for a transition team tasked with setting up a new administration to establish contacts with foreign governments, and I have never heard anyone object to it being done before. The Trump transition team had for example discussions with the British government, which make it possible to arrange a meeting between President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May in Washington some time next month.
However nothing about the transition from Obama to Trump was normal, and the sabotage of contacts between Trump’s people and the Russians during the transition period was just a case in point.
One of its results was incidentally that instead of telephoning Trump to congratulate him on his victory – as is normal – Putin thought it better to write to Trump instead. This struck me as strange at the time. With hindsight, it was almost certainly done to prevent malicious gossip about what Putin and Trump might have said to each other if they had spoken by telephone being spread by the ‘anonymous officials’ working for the US intelligence services and the Obama administration, who would of course have been listening in on the call.
Notwithstanding the wrecking tactics of those behind the campaign, a meeting between Putin and Trump is only a matter of time, and it is likely the two men will speak to each other shortly.
With Rex Tillerson looking increasingly likely to be confirmed as Secretary of State, delaying the much needed and much anticipated summit meeting between Putin and Trump by a few weeks looks like being the one victory the anti-Russia and anti-Trump campaign about alleged Russian interference in the election has achieved.