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Trump needs summit with Putin to score political points, expert says

An expert says no breakthroughs should be expected at the summit

MOSCOW, June 28. /TASS/. A meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin would serve as an image-booster for Donald Trump, though no breakthroughs should be expected at the summit, Ivan Timofeev, Program Director of the Valdai International Discussion Club, said on Thursday.

"Donald Trump is a politician who always takes advantage of a certain countertrend. If everyone says that Russia is bad, he will say, ‘No, this is an ambiguous issue.’ For him a meeting with Putin is an opportunity to score personal political points," the expert stressed.

According to Timofeev, the White House occupant relied on similar logic when he made up his mind to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "Before him, no one communicated with the North Korean leader, while he said, "I’ll try," he pointed out.

The political scientist believes that the agenda of a Russian-US summit would include the traditional key issues discussed by Moscow and Washington, that is, nuclear nonproliferation, arms control and strategic stability. "Economic issues are likely to be on the back burner, because our economic ties have traditionally been weak for a long time. However, progress on Ukraine and other issues of concern can hardly be expected," he added.

The expert was certain though that the very fact of holding a full-fledged summit meeting would be a landmark event. "Such summits have not been held for a long period of time. Considering the negativity surrounding relations between Trump and Russia and between the two countries in general, that’s, of course, a step forward. The two leaders will eventually hold a detailed bilateral meeting, that is, not on the sidelines and not as part of some other event," the expert explained.

Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov earlier announced that Moscow and Washington had agreed on the date and venue for a Russian-US summit. Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton later said that the Kremlin and the White House would announce the date and venue for the summit simultaneously on Thursday. According to the Fox News TV channel, the meeting will be held in Helsinki.