US Lawmakers in Moscow Set Stage for Trump-Putin Summit

"Indeed, we do not rule out that both Presidents Putin and Trump may have a tête-à-tête meeting at the beginning, if an initial agreement is confirmed and there is preliminary understanding".

"However it is the job of the civil society to talk about matters which the heads of state can not necessarily discuss diplomatically", he says.

A group of Republican U.S. lawmakers met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow Tuesday with hopes of mending the relationship between the two countries.

At Trump and Putin's first meeting, on the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, a year ago, the only aide to accompany the President was then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, along with a USA translator.

The eight-member US delegation was officially in town to speak with their counterparts in Russia's lower and upper houses of parliament - the first direct exchange between lawmakers from both countries since 2013.

Putin may start the summit with a meeting with Trump if Washington confirms that, Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Lavrov, speaking in English, said he hoped that the United States senators' visit "will symbolise the resumption of relations between the (US and Russian) parliaments".

He said the Kremlin was "very satisfied" that the senators were visiting Russian Federation.

"We will have to wait and see, and go from there, but we recognize that the world is better off, I believe, if Russian Federation and the USA have fewer tensions", Shelby added.

U.S. -Russian ties have hit the lowest point in decades due to sanctions over Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election and disagreement over Syria, Ukraine and other topics.

Later in the day the congressmen were to meet their counterparts in the Russian parliament. "President Putin feels relaxed in any format, which is comfortable for his interlocutors", spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, Russian news agency Tass reported.

Yet Trump's push for a quick summit with Putin has equally alarmed traditional USA allies, with whom Trump has clashed over issues such as funding for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and the Iran nuclear deal, among other issues.

  • Rogelio Becker