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Putin ready to meet Trump in Washington or Moscow
[JOHANNESBURG] Russian President Vladimir Putin said he's ready to hold a new summit with Donald Trump in either Moscow or Washington, praising his US counterpart for sticking to his election pledges to improve ties with Russia.
"One of President Trump's big pluses is that he strives to fulfill the promises he made to voters, to the American people," Mr Putin told a press conference at the Brics summit in Johannesburg on Friday. "As a rule, after the elections some leaders tend to forget what they promised the people but not Trump."
Mr Putin, who said he expects to meet Mr Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 summit of major economies in Argentina from Nov 30-Dec 1, said contacts are continuing with the United Stated despite the political furor over Russia's alleged election meddling.
"Regarding our meetings, I understand very well what President Trump told me. He has a desire to hold further meetings. I am ready for that, but we need to have the appropriate conditions," Mr Putin said.
"We're ready to invite President Trump to Moscow," he added. "By the way, he has such an invitation, I told him about that." Mr Putin also said he's ready to go to Washington to meet. "We have contacts at a working level but this is sometimes not enough, you need to talk at the highest level."
Mr Trump provoked a furious backlash in Washington for casting doubts over US intelligence agencies' conclusion that Russia intervened to help get him elected in 2016 at his July 16 summit with Putin in Helsinki. Mr Trump stoked further anger when he invited Mr Putin to Washington later this year and the White House said this week that meeting would be postponed until 2019.
‘The Russian president also said his country doesn't plan to abandon holding reserves in US dollars though he said that the risk of sanctions is prompting Russia to diversify its foreign currency assets.
"Russia isn't abandoning the dollar," Mr Putin said in answer to a question about the sharp decline in its holdings of US Treasuries in April and May. "We need to minimize risks, we see what's happening with sanctions."
"As for our American partners and the restrictions they impose involving the dollar," he added, "I think that is a major strategic mistake because they're undermining confidence in the dollar as a reserve currency."
In the wake of the Helsinki summit, US lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties have proposed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia. The country is already subject to a raft of American punitive measures over its annexation of Crimea, support for Ukrainian separatists and the alleged vote interference in the US.