Sources told the newspaper Kommersant that the Kremlin has submitted a two-page document to the White House with a first draft of a potential statement Moscow hopes Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will make at the conclusion of their Helsinki summit next week.
The document reportedly emphasizes the importance of maintaining a dialogue between the Russian and U.S. heads of state, diplomats, militaries, and intelligence agencies, and calls for closer economic ties and more contact between Russians and Americans. The statement would describe U.S.-Russian cooperation as one of the vital components of regional and global stability.
Kommersant’s sources in the U.S. government say Washington is ready to incorporate these sentiments into a joint statement at the summit, but the White House wants a declaration (either in a separate document or a verbal statement) that the United States is concerned about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump administration wants a guarantee that Moscow won’t meddle again.
Kissinger Associates political consultant Thomas Graham told Kommersant that Putin might be willing to acknowledge that nonstate actors from Russia were involved in the 2016 election. Carnegie Moscow Center director Dmitri Trenin, meanwhile, thinks Putin might agree to a more general joint statement against foreign political meddling.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov recently said that Vladimir Putin is prepared to repeat that Russia had no role in any “interference.” Commenting on Kommersant’s report, Peskov said that the exchange of declaration blueprints ahead of major summits is common diplomatic practice.
According to Politico, Trump’s new communications director, Bill Shine (the former co-president of Fox News), will join the West Wing delegation to Helsinki.