- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

A highly anticipated meeting between Russia President Vladimir Putin and British pop superstar Sir Elton John won’t be held next week after all, Mr. Putin’s spokesman revealed Thursday.

Sir Elton, a noted gay-rights activist, had hoped for a one-on-one meeting with the Russian leader to discuss the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender Russians when he comes to Moscow for a May 30 concert. Dmitry Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, blamed a scheduling conflict for the cancellation, though he held out the prospect that the meeting might still be held at a later date.

“We were in touch with him a couple of weeks ago,” Mr. Peskov told TASS, according to an account in the English-language Moscow Times.

“President Putin expressed his readiness, but unfortunately this time it is not going to work,” he said.

The Putin-Elton summit was born last fall when the musician expressed an interest in discussing the plight of the LGBT community in Russia under Mr. Putin, and was conned by a pair of Russian pranksters into believing Mr. Putin himself had called to discuss the issue.

Mr. Putin himself then called Sir Elton to say he was prepared to take the meeting, and both sides had been looking to next week’s concert as a potential time to get together.

“Their schedules do not match up. But this does not mean that such a meeting won’t take place next time,” Mr. Peskov said.

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