WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump is open to accepting an invitation from Russia's Vladimir Putin to visit Moscow, the White House said on Friday.
"President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation," Efe quoted spokesperson Sarah Sanders as saying in a statement.
The Russian President said on Friday that he had extended an invitation to Trump to meet with him in Moscow and that he is equally disposed to travel to Washington, but "only if the appropriate conditions are created there".
"We are ready for such meetings, we are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. He has an invitation already and I told him about it," Putin said in Johannesburg, where he attended the summit of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group.
Just a few days after the first bilateral summit between Putin and Trump, held July 16 in Helsinki, the White House revealed the US President's decision to have a second meeting with his Russian counterpart in Washington before the end of the year.
But after the deluge of criticism from both the Democratic opposition and his own Republican Party, Trump announced through his National Security Adviser John Bolton that he will not see Putin at least until early 2019.
"The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we've agreed that it will be after the first of the year," Bolton said on Wednesday in a statement.
The US President regularly uses the expression "witch hunt" to describe Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.