The White House has formally invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington in early 2019, an idea that was put on hold in July amid anger in the US over the prospect of such a summit.
The invitation was announced Friday by US National Security Advisor John Bolton during a news conference in Tbilisi, Georgia.
“We have invited President Putin to Washington,” Bolton said at the news conference.
Bolton held meetings with Putin and other Kremlin officials in Moscow to discuss the US withdrawing from a Cold-War era nuclear weapons treaty.
US President Donald Trump held a summit with Putin in July in Helsinki, the Finnish capital, and then issued Putin an invitation to visit Washington in the autumn.
It was not immediately clear if Putin had accepted the invitation.
Trump’s earlier invitation to Putin sparked outrage in Washington, including from lawmakers in Trump’s Republican Party, who argued that Putin was an adversary not worthy of a White House visit.
Putin told Bolton that Russia was sometimes surprised by unprovoked steps that Washington took against Moscow.
Bolton, in a separate interview with Reuters, strongly criticized Russian foreign policy, saying Moscow’s behavior on the world stage was one of the reasons Washington had imposed sanctions on Russia and was now considering imposing more.
“It will be helpful if they (the Russians) stop interfering in our election … get out of Crimea and the Donbass in Ukraine … stop using illegal chemical weapons to conduct assassination attempts against Russian exiles in the West, and if they would be less intrusive in the Middle East,” he said.
US Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia denies any meddling in the US election system.