Obama Cancels Upcoming Meeting with Putin

Philip Rucker
Washington Post
August 7, 2013

Barack Obama on with Jay Leno.
Barack Obama on with Jay Leno.

President Obama canceled a planned meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid mounting anger over Russia’s decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, the White House said Wednesday.

Obama had intended to visit Russia’s capital and meet with Putin in advance of next month’s Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg. But he has decided he will not meet with Putin one-on-one — a rare diplomatic snub — and will attend only the G-20 summit.

“Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia Summit in early September,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

Carney cited a “lack of progress” with Russia over the past 12 months on a broad range of issues including missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security and human rights and civil society issues. Carney added that Russia’s “disappointing decision” last week to grant Snowden temporary asylum, allowing him to live and work in Russia for up to a year, was also a factor.

“We have informed the Russian Government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda,” Carney said.

On Friday, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet with their Russian counterparts in Washington to discuss how to make progress, Carney said.

Instead of visiting Moscow ahead of the G-20 summit, Obama will travel to Stockholm on Sept. 4.

“Sweden is a close friend and partner to the United States,” Carney said in a statement. “Sweden plays a key leadership role on the international stage, including in opening new trade and investment opportunities through the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, advancing clean technologies, and promoting environmental sustainability.”

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