Blackwater founder Eric Prince held a secret two-day meeting in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean with a Russian official close to Vladimir Putin, the Washington Post reports. It was an apparent bid to establish a back channel of communication between the Kremlin and then-president-elect Donald Trump according to the Post.
The meeting took place on January 11, nine days before Trump's inauguration. Officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to broker the meeting to see if Russia might roll back its support of Iran, including in Syria. The Trump administration would likely need to make major concessions to Moscow, particularly on U.S. sanctions, for Russia to do so. The full agenda discussed at the meeting is still unclear, according to U.S., European, and Arab officials who spoke with reporters. The officials said Prince presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis who set up the meeting with the Russian official, whom they did not identify.