The Moscow-based daily reported today that Obama is planning to visit Russia in July. The visit will most likely come ahead of the G8 summit, scheduled for July 8-10 in Italy, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. Obama is expected to meet with Medvedev for the first time at the G20 summit in London on April 1.
Just a couple of weeks ago, "Kommersant" broke a major story when it reported that Obama had sent a letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev suggesting that Washington would consider scrapping its plans for a missile-defense system in Europe if Moscow helped curb Iran's nuclear program.
According to the new "Kommersant" report, former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker will travel to Moscow this week to lay the groundwork for an Obama visit. The newspaper also reported that a group of U.S. foreign-policy "wise men" are due to visit Moscow to meet with Medvedev and other officials on March 20. The group includes two former secretaries of state, Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, as well as former Defense Secretary William Perry among others. Kissinger already met with Medvedev in December.
Citing the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Bloomberg News reported that Kissinger will arrive in Moscow "before the weekend" and that Baker, traveling separately, will meet with investors and speak to a conference on "developing Caspian Sea energy resources."
A White House official told me that no travel plans for President Obama have been set for the summer.
I guess we'll just have to wait to see if "Kommersant" makes it two in a row.
-- Brian Whitmore