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Monday, February 19, 2018

The intrigue of the first meeting of Putin and trump threatens to drag on for months

Vladimir Putin and Donald trump, despite a mutual desire to rebuild Russian-American relations, does not plan to meet until January 20. At the inauguration of the 45th President of the USA and Russia according to the established tradition will be the Ambassador, then, according to Dmitry Peskov, the start of a “thorough and careful preparation” contact at the highest level. To such contact took place in the near future, Moscow and Washington need to urgently find a reason suitable for holding a bilateral summit. Otherwise, major international events, which is guaranteed to be present Putin and trump, the world community will have to wait at least six months.

photo: pixabay.com

Before his election to the post of President of the United States Donald trump blithely declared that he is ready to hold a meeting with Vladimir Putin prior to joining the White house. “If the 8 November, I will win… I Think I can imagine his meeting with Putin before start of the work of his administration. I think it will be great,” he said on the eve of elections in the radio show of Michael Savage. In the Kremlin these words reacted with cautious optimism, and, in principle, also did not rule out. Because for an entire year the Republican candidate did not skimp on the promise. “If we can make our country such a wonderful thing how to get along with Russia, that would be awesome, I’d really like to try” – he said responding to a question about possible “reset” of Russian-American relations. “I have always believed that together Russia and the United States could defeat terrorism and restore peace. Also we could trade with each other, not to mention the other benefits of mutual respect”, — so described the then candidate for the US presidency promising areas of bilateral cooperation.

After the elections, the rhetoric of Donald trump does not seem to have changed, but no concrete steps pointing to the desire of the new administration to quickly establish relations with Moscow, has not been undertaken. Moreover, the presidents talked on the phone only once, apparently on the initiative of Vladimir Putin, who has decided to personally congratulate trump with the unexpected, including the Kremlin, victory. In addition, the new occupant of the White house has received from the Russian leader “very nice” message on the occasion of Christmas and New year. “His thoughts are so correct. I think both parties are able to live in accordance with these thoughts, and we should not go the other way,” he praised trump. But there was a reply and what thoughts it contained, was not known. Initially, the representatives of the Kremlin referred to the fact that the environment trump them not yet whom to contact, because the administration has not yet formed. Now, when key positions in the White house is already allocated, the situation apparently did not change. At least, Dmitry Peskov, insists that there is no communication with team trump’s not happening, and the meeting of the two leaders will be available until inauguration on January 20.

The representative of the Kremlin stressed that “contact” at the highest level will be prepared “thoroughly and carefully”, which means that meeting and looked forward to, without exaggeration, the whole world will clearly take place today or tomorrow. “If some contacts will be planned, be scheduled they will be very thoroughly and carefully given the fact that we are talking about the contacts after a very stressful phase of evolution or rather the degradation of our relations”, – said Peskov told reporters in the first after the Christmas holidays the briefing. Approximately in the same cautious manner the possibility of meeting the two leaders had previously commented on Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In Moscow insist that the meeting format does not really matter: it will be a bilateral summit or talks on the sidelines of international events – no difference, the main thing — to see the result. However, there is every reason to assume that if the Kremlin and the White house will fail in the near future to coordinate a separate meeting of Putin and trump, the Russian-American negotiations will take place until the second half of 2017.

The fact that at the highest level, Russia and the United States currently presents only two international formats — the summits “the Big twenty”, APEC. (Before there was “the Big eight”, but after the events of 2014, she departed this life). The G20 summit in 2017 will be held in Hamburg in early July. The meeting of leaders of APEC will have to wait even longer: as a rule, representatives of the Asia-Pacific region gather for its annual meeting until mid-November. (This time it will be held in Vietnam. However, during the presidential race, Donald trump has repeatedly declared its intention to suspend the membership of States in this organization, because it does not conforms to the fundamental interests of the American economy).

As for other major international events, the chance to hold on to their fields, the talks between the leaders of Russia and the United States, frankly, are small. At the world economic forum in Davos, which will take place on 17-20 January, Putin and trump will not go. This is for sure. Next on the calendar is the Munich security conference — Germany, 17-19 Feb. Based on past experience (namely in Munich Vladimir Putin in 2007, he made his famous speech in which he accused the US of creating a unipolar world and ignoring the national interests of the Russian Federation) meeting and the “reset” of bilateral relations would be certainly a nice gesture, but is to him, the Kremlin and the White house — the big question. Last year Russia at the Munich conference was represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev informed the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin in 2017 not scheduled to speak in Munich. In the U.S., this event is considered the “European get-together”: American leaders in it, as a rule, not involved.

Representatives of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Finland before the New year took the initiative to hold a meeting of Vladimir Putin and Donald trump in the framework of the presidency of this country in the Arctic Council. But in the official calendar of the Russian foreign Ministry no activities along this line in the first half of 2017 does not appear. Unofficially, diplomats say that the suggestion of the neighbors, of course, good, but very “raw”: first, the powers of the President will go to Finland in may, and secondly, the Arctic Council never intended at the level of heads of States. To discuss this question should not only with Russia and USA, but also in other member countries.

In General, if the Kremlin and the White house after January 20 will continue to exchange meaningless pleasantries and do not find a reason for the meeting (and, if desired, they could be the anniversary — 210 years — the establishment of diplomatic relations), Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will soon have a chance to look into each other’s eyes…


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