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Obama to visit Sweden before Russia

August 07, 2013, 18:38 UTC+3
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WASHINGTON, August 7 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Sweden in early September before traveling to Russia, White House Spokesperson Jay Carney said on Wednesday, August 7.

“Before travelling to Russia, the President will travel to Stockholm, Sweden, on September 4 and 5. Sweden is a close friend and partner to the United States. 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,” he said.

The White House said earlier in the day, though, that Obama would not go to Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin because of the lack of progress in bilateral relations.

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

“Given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defence 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 statement said.

At the same time, the White House said Obama will travel to St. Petersburg to attend a G20 summit and stressed that the two countries would continue working on the shared agenda.

“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.

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