(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump is seeking a “detente” with Russia and wants to work with his counterpart Vladimir Putin to achieve this, according to the U.S. ambassador in Moscow.
“My president has said repeatedly that he wants a better relationship with Russia. Repeatedly. And he has said quite clearly that he would like to engage personally with President Putin,” Jon Huntsman said Tuesday at a roundtable in Vladivostok, according to a transcript posted on the U.S. Embassy website. “You can call it a desire for detente or a desire for a healthier relationship.”
Trump last month invited Putin to hold talks in Washington when he called to congratulate the Russian president on winning a record fourth term. So far, there have been no preparations for the summit.
Since then, the U.S. has imposed the toughest sanctions yet on Russia, sending its financial markets into a tailspin and prompting threats of retaliation from lawmakers. Tensions also surged as Trump ordered air strikes earlier this month on Russia’s Syrian ally for an alleged chemical weapons attack. Even so, Putin’s instructed officials to dial down talk of confrontation as he seeks to give Trump another chance to make good on pledges to improve relations.
Despite an unexpected move by the U.S. Treasury Monday to ease sanctions imposed on aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, the Kremlin expressed caution Tuesday about the prospects for better ties. “For the moment, the reality and the actual steps coming from Washington point to the opposite,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call.
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