US President Donald Trump hopes that his forthcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will reduce tensions in bilateral relations and lead to the establishment of constructive cooperation between Moscow and Washington that will strengthen international security, a spokesperson of the US State Department said.
"The President hopes that a meeting can help reduce tensions and lead to constructive engagement that improves peace and security around the world," the spokesperson stressed.
She also said that "the President is pursuing this meeting in the interest of America’s national security to determine whether Russia is willing to make progress in our relationship."
"The President believes a better relationship with Russia would be good for both America and Russia," the diplomat said. But she added that "the ball is in Russia’s court, and the President will continue to hold Russia accountable for its malign activities."
"The President’s priority is to protect the American people and American interests, including those of our Allies and partners," she said.
The Kremlin had said earlier that the Russia-US summit would take place in the Finnish capital on July 16. Washington confirmed the date for the summit and its venue.
According to the Kremlin press service, Putin and Trump will discuss "the current state and prospects for the further development of Russian-American relations, as well as current issues on the international agenda."
Putin and Trump held their first-ever talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7, 2017. Later in November, Putin and Trump did not have a separate bilateral meeting during the APEC summit in Vietnam, but they did have a word on the sidelines of the forum and approved a joint statement on Syria. For nearly eighteen months in office as US president, Trump has talked to Putin several times by phone. The latest phone call took place on March 20, 2018.