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White House issued a statement regarding cancelled summit

August 07, 2013, 18:11 UTC+3

Obama's administration believes there is "not enough recent progress in bilateral agenda" to warrant a summit

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WASHINGTON, August 7 (Itar-Tass) - The U.S. administration said “there is not enough recent progress” in American-Russian relations to hold a bilateral summit in early September, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday, August 7.

“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,” the statement said.

The U.S. values “the achievements made with Russia in the President’s first term,” including the New START Treaty, and cooperation on Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea. However, “given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last twelve months, 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,” the White House said.

The U.S. administration regretted Russia’s “disappointing decision” to grant U.S. National Security Agency leader Edward Snowden temporary asylum and said it was also “a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship.”

“Our cooperation on these issues remains a priority for the United States, so on Friday, August 9, Secretaries Hagel and Kerry will meet with their Russian counterparts in a 2+2 format in Washington to discuss how we can best make progress moving forward on the full range of issues in our bilateral relationship,” the document said.

Obama has cancelled his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in September, a U.S. administration official said earlier in the day.

U.S. Deputy National Security Affairs Ben Rhodes said the decision to give temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden had further complicated the already complex relations between the two countries.

At the same time, he noted that the United States continued to work with Russia on issues on which the two countries have common views. However Obama and his team think that the summit is not possible in this situation.

However the White House stressed that President Barack Obama was looking forward to travelling to St. Petersburg on September 5-6 to attend the G-20 Summit.

Obama said in a televised interview on Tuesday, August 6, that he would attend the upcoming G20 summit in St. Petersburg.

White House Spokesperson Jay Carney previously stated on August 5 that the president’s schedule has not changed and includes his trip to the summit in St. Petersburg.

At the time, Carney stressed that the G20 summit is an international forum and the United States would discuss international issues there.

He said the United States was still evaluating value of the summit and had a number of questions concerning Russia. The spokesperson stressed that the two countries disagree not only over former National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden but also over other issues, including Syria.

Obama will visit Russia in September, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said earlier.

U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said at a press briefing on August 1 that the Russian authorities’ decision to grant temporary asylum to Snowden was “an extremely disappointing step.”

She said the U.S. authorities “continue to press with the Russian Government that Mr. Snowden needs to be returned to the United States where he will face a free and fair trial.”

Harf stressed that “this move by the Russian Government undermines a longstanding record of law enforcement cooperation, particularly since the Boston Marathon bombings. So we will continue to make that point with the Russian Government at all points in this process.”

She said “Mr. Snowden is wanted on very serious charges and that he needs to be returned to the United States to face those charges.”

At the same time, Harf confirmed that there are areas where the two countries work together. “We’ll continue to do so because it’s in our interest to do so. There are areas where we disagree, as we’ve talked about, not just Snowden but others. And again, we’re evaluating our summit, the 2+2. We’re looking at that right now. So clearly this could have an impact, but the relationship is a broad one where we have many national security interests as well,” she said.

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