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Bolton: Trump invited Putin to visit Washington in 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump during a photo session of world leaders on the closing day of the 25th APEC Summit on Nov. 11, 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam. (Metzel Mikhail/TASS/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton says that he extended an invitation from President Donald Trump for Russian leader Vladimir Putin to visit Washington in 2019.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, Bolton said he relayed Trump’s invitation during his meetings with Putin in Moscow earlier this week.

Bolton’s visit to Russia was dominated by the announcement that the Trump administration planned to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

That agreement, which eliminated an entire class of missiles from Europe, is considered key to strategic stability between Washington and Moscow.

But the meetings also included other issues like the wars in Syria and Ukraine, Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election, and North Korea.

Speaking in Yerevan, during a trip to three South Caucasus nations, Bolton said advisers were working out details of Trump and Putin meeting in Paris next month, when world leaders gather for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

“There are other opportunities. And I extended President Trump’s invitation to President Putin to visit Washington after the first of the year,” Bolton said in the interview.

During the two leaders’ last meeting, in Helsinki in July, Trump was widely criticized, by Democrats and Republicans alike, for comments suggesting that he believed Putin’s denials about Russia’s interference in U.S. election interference. That directly contradicted conclusions by the U.S. intelligence community.