New statements made by the White House indicate that the U.S. President, Donald Trump is unlikely to hold any formal meeting with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit (Apec).
Commenting on the statement, the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, told reporters that the meeting had been axed after “scheduling conflicts on both sides”. She added that while no formal meeting was expected, the two were likely to interact on an informal level over the course of the summit.
Speaking in detail about the situation, Sanders told reporters on the Air Force One flight that a meeting between the two leaders had never been confirmed. She made clear that “no formal meeting or anything” had been scheduled for the leaders.
She maintained, however, that there was still the possibility of communication. She stated that since they would be going to “the same place”, they were likely “bump into” each other.
However, she again clarified that the White House did not anticipate any formal discussion between the countries’ leaders. What is so interesting about the clarification is that it contradicts the statement made by the Russians.
The possibility of a meeting between the two leaders has agonized media for weeks. The meeting has been highly anticipated since news about Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections came to light.
Recent action in the matter has also brought charges against Trump’s former campaign aides, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Both the accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Trump had earlier denied any charged of a connection between his campaign and the Russian operatives working during the 2016 election.
However, U.S. intelligence agencies released a report earlier in the year stating that Russia had ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Trump’s competitor, Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the 2016 elections.
The two contradicting statements released by the two camps raises questions over the validity of either’s statements.