US discusses five-power summit with Russia
The United States said Monday that it spoke with Russia about convening a summit of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a key priority for President Vladimir Putin.
In a telephone call, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov "discussed convening P5 leaders in the near future to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations," the State Department said.
Putin has been urging such a summit that would bring him together with US President Donald Trump, potentially just before the Republican vies for reelection in November.
The summit would also include President Xi Jinping of China, with which the United States has deteriorating relations, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The statement did not say when and where such a five-way summit may take place.
Trump has separately voiced openness to inviting Putin to the Washington area for an expanded summit of the Group of Seven industrial democracies.
Under Putin, Moscow's role in the World War II victory against Nazi Germany in 1945 has increasingly dominated historical discussion, and he has complained that the West has diminished the Soviet contribution.
He renewed the call for the summit, saying the COVID-19 pandemic would be discussed, in an opinion piece he wrote last month for the US magazine The National Interest.
Some analysts see Putin's piece as part of his efforts to shore up support ahead of a July 1 referendum in which Russians gave him the right to stay in power until 2036.
The State Department had said it was troubled over the conduct of the vote, but the statement on Pompeo's call with Lavrov did not mention the referendum.
It said, however, that the two discussed Afghanistan and that Pompeo raised election security.
Washington has been in uproar over reports that Russian intelligence paid bounties for Taliban-linked fighters to kill US forces in Afghanistan.
US intelligence found that Russia intervened in the 2016 elections to support Trump, who has bristled at the charges and called for better ties with Putin.
© 2020 AFP