Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
US President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017.
A joint Russian-US working group on cybersecurity, proposed by President Vladimir Putin in a discussion with US President Donald Trump in Hamburg, is unlikely to be launched any time soon, a Russian official said on Monday.
“President Putin proposed forming a working group. This does not mean that it should start working immediately, virtually tomorrow,” Svetlana Lukash, a Russian official at the G20 summit held in Germany last week, told a news conference.
Trump on Sunday backtracked on the suggestion for a cybersecurity unit with Russia, tweeting that he did not think it could happen. This happened hours after it was criticized by Republicans who said Moscow could not be trusted.
@realDonaldTrump The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t-but a
ceasefire can,& did!
“Nobody, except the participants of that (Hamburg) meeting, knows how that proposal was formulated and how President Trump reacted,” Lukash said.
She said that some media reports may have pre-judged that creating a joint commission on cybersecurity was a decided matter already.
“That was a proposal. Probably, he (Trump) is not ready yet for this specific initiative at this stage,” she said. “But this does not mean that there won’t be cooperation between the two nations in this sphere in any form which suits them both.”
Trump argued for a rapprochement with Moscow in his campaign but has been unable to deliver because his administration has been dogged by investigations into the allegations of Russian interference in the election and ties with his campaign.
Putin and Trump discussed cybersecurity for no less than 40 minutes in Hamburg, Lukash said.
She did not rule out that, in the end, a joint cybersecurity commission could be either a US-Russian bilateral unit or a United Nations-sponsored effort.