Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have an opportunity to mend their countries’ ties when they meet next week, former top U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger said on Friday, a day after he followed up a meeting with the U.S. president by having talks with Putin.
The U.S. and Russian leaders are to have their first face-to-face encounter next week at a G20 summit in Hamburg.
At a previous moment of heightened tension between Moscow and Washington, in the 1960s, Kissinger acted as a back-channel intermediary, passing messages to the leadership of the Soviet Union on behalf of U.S. President Richard Nixon.
Speaking at an international affairs conference in Moscow, Kissinger said of the planned Trump-Putin meeting: “Tensions between Russia and the United States … have happened often before and they have been overcome often before,” Kissinger, 94, said. He did not take questions from reporters at the event.
Asked if Kissinger was providing a back-channel between the Kremlin and the White House, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “He didn’t try. That did not happen.”
He said the Kissinger-Putin meeting was strictly private and declined to disclose what the two men talked about.