Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Obama cancels meeting with Putin over Snowden asylum tensions

    Wednesday, August 07, 2013   No comments

Relations between the United States and Russia deteriorated further on Wednesday when Barack Obama abandoned a presidential summit with Vladimir Putin that was due to be held next month, amid fury in Washington over Moscow's decision to grant asylum to the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The White House confirmed that it had decided to snub the Russian leader by pulling out of the planned bilateral meeting in Moscow, but is expected to take part in the broader G20 meeting of international leaders in St Petersburg.

Moscow reacted coolly to the decision, which had been widely expected after Putin infuriated the Obama administration by granting temporary sanctuary to Snowden, who fled to Moscow after the Chinese government allowed him to leave Hong Kong, rather than heed US calls for his arrest.

In a statement, the White House said that it had concluded there was "not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda" to hold a US-Russia summit. It cited a lack of progress on arms control, trade, missile defence and human rights, and added: "Russia's disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship. Our co-operation on these issues remains a priority for the United States."


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