White House snubs meet with Putin over Snowden

By Liu Yunlong Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-8 0:43:01

The White House Wednesday announced it was canceling a September summit between US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow, citing disappointment over Russia granting asylum to intelligence leaker Edward Snowden among other issues.

According to Reuters, the White House said in a statement it valued "achievements made" between Russia and the US, but cited a "lack of progress" on a host of other issues "such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society."

"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," the statement said.

Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, was quoted by the AP as saying the US and Russia will still work on issues where they can find common ground, but "it was the unanimous view of the president and his national security team that a summit did not make sense in the current environment."

Earlier on Tuesday, appearing on a late-night talk show, Obama said he was "disappointed" by Russia's decision to offer one-year temporary asylum to Snowden, but insisted he still planned to attend the G20 summit in St. Petersburg.

Shortly after the White House announcement, Putin's top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told reporters, "We are disappointed," noting it was clear to Moscow that the decision was linked to the case of Snowden.

Ushakov added the situation showed that the US was still not ready for relations "on an equal basis" with Russia but said the invitation for Obama to visit was still in force, AFP reported.

"Canceling the presidential summit is a very tough diplomatic action, which shows the US' dissatisfaction with Russia," Wang Fan, a professor with the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

"The Snowden case has made the relationship between Russia and the US more complex," said Wang, stressing that it wouldn't affect the two countries' ties to a large degree.

Agencies contributed to this story

GT Editorial: Winners and losers in Snowden fiasco
Russia has impressed the world, which views the Kremlin as the "winner" and the White House as the "loser."

Read more in Special Coverage:

Posted in: Europe, Americas

blog comments powered by Disqus