Summit between Trump and Putin reportedly in early stages, may include talks on Syria and Ukraine

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Early discussions for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are said to be underway, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has been in Washington for a months-long effort to arrange a formal meeting between the two leaders, the publication said, citing a senior administration official.

The purpose of a summit would be to resolve thorny issues between the two nations, the report said. Syria, Ukraine and nuclear-arms control are among expected discussion topics, the publication added.

In 2017, Trump and Putin met twice on the sidelines of international meetings. Although Trump has been criticized frequently for not aggressively confronting Putin, Moscow and Washington have differed sharply on a range of issues — most recently the U.S.-led strike on Syria for its suspected chemical attack on civilians.

The White House did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment on Saturday.

The discussions are taking place against the backdrop of a probe by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director. His office is investigating possible ties between Trump’s presidential election campaign and Russian officials, which Trump has roundly dismissed as baseless.

The Journal’s full story can be found on its website.

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