President Trump open to visiting Moscow after Putin invite

WASHINGTON/JOHANNESBURG, July 27 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is open to visiting Moscow, the White House said on Friday after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had invited the American leader.

Despite the uproar in Washington after the two met in Helsinki last week, Putin said another meeting with Trump was still on the agenda and that both leaders want additional summits.

"Regarding our meetings, I understand very well what President Trump said. He has a desire to have further meetings," Putin told reporters in South Africa, where he was attending a summit of BRICS nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

RELATED: President Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in Finland

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President Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in Finland
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16, 2018: The national flags of Russia and the United States seen ahead of a meeting of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First lady Melania Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'KREMLIN PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) (L-R) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and his wife Jenni Haukio pose for a photo during their meeting in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First lady Melania Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND JULY 16, 2018: US President Donald Trump (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin give a joint news conference following their meeting at the Presidential Palace. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin react at the end of the joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
U.S. President Donald Trump receives a football from Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their joint news conference after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and First lady Melania Trump pose for a picture with a football during a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND JULY 16, 2018: US First Lady Melania Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and US President Donald Trump (L-R) after a news conference at the Presidential Palace. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump holds a football thrown to her by U.S. President Donald Trump during his joint news conference with Russia's President Vladimir Putin after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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"I am ready for that," Putin said. "We need for the appropriate conditions to exist, to be created, including in our countries."

Following the backlash in the United States over Trump's cordial public tone with Putin at the Helsinki summit, U.S. and Russian officials backed away from Trump's proposal to schedule a follow-up meeting in Washington in the fall.

Two days after postponing that invitation, the White House made clear on Friday that Trump remained enthusiastic about another Russia summit.

"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," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

The last time Trump was in the Russian capital was in 2013, to attend a Miss Universe beauty pageant.

Referring to the proposal for a meeting in the United States, Putin said: "I am ready to go to Washington. I repeat once again, if the right conditions for work are created."

Putin said that, in the meantime, it was possible that he and Trump would meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina in November or at another international event. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

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