(Adds Trump comment about Putin, quotes, background)
WASHINGTON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he is interested in hosting a Group of Seven summit in a “calmer atmosphere” after the November presidential election, and that he has not decided whether to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In May as the coronavirus pandemic was spreading, Trump postponed a G7 summit he had hoped to hold in June until September or later, and said he hoped to expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India.
“I’m much more inclined to do it sometime after the election. ... We could do it through teleconference or we could do it through a meeting,” the Republican president said at White House news conference.
Trump, who is trailing Democratic candidate Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, said he had decided on the new time frame because it would provide a “better, calmer atmosphere to have a G7.”
Trump gave no specific date and said no invitations had been sent out.
Asked whether he would invite Putin, Trump said: “I don’t know but we have invited a number of people to the meeting. I certainly would invite him to the meeting.”
In a telephone conversation on June 1, Trump and Putin discussed “progress toward convening the G7,” according to the White House.
The G7 includes Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Japan and Canada in addition to the United States. Russia was expelled from the then so-called G8 group in 2014 after annexing the Crimea region from Ukraine. (Reporting by Jeff Mason and Alexandra Alper Editing by Chris Reese and Sandra Maler)
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