Trump aides deny Sunday Times report of Putin Iceland summit

By Ros Krasny and Margaret Talev, Bloomberg - January 16, 2017
The city skyline of Reykjavik, Iceland, on April 7, 2016. (Arnaldur Halldorsson / Bloomberg)
The city skyline of Reykjavik, Iceland, on April 7, 2016. (Arnaldur Halldorsson / Bloomberg)

Two senior aides to Donald Trump denied a report that his advisers had told U.K. officials the incoming president’s first foreign trip will be a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Reykjavik. Russian officials also derided the report.

The Sunday Times of London reported that advisers to Trump had told U.K. officials the president-elect might meet his Russian counterpart at a neutral venue such as Iceland, potentially within weeks of taking office.

The newspaper said, without providing details, that Trump planned to begin working on a deal to limit nuclear weapons. It cited an unidentified source for the summit plans, and added that Moscow is ready to agree to the meeting, based on comments from unnamed officials at the Russian embassy in London.

That embassy also knocked down the report on its Twitter feed on Sunday, and demanded an apology from the newspaper.

Iceland’s Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson told that the nation has not been contacted about such a summit, the Iceland Monitor reported.

“If officials in Washington DC make a formal request for the Icelandic government to organise a summit in Reykjavik we will look at it positively and make this our input to improve relations between the U.S. and Russia,” Þórðarsson said.

The Sunday Times cited an unidentified adviser to Trump that that the president-elect, who will be sworn in on Jan. 20, will meet with Putin at a neutral venue “very soon.” That is “100 percent false,” a Trump aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said late Sunday.

The suggestion of a meeting in Iceland evokes the Reagan-era nuclear agreement between President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, then general secretary of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party. The pair held a two-day summit in Reykjavik in October 1986 to work on what eventually became a major nuclear disarmament treaty between the two superpowers in 1987.