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Obama to meet Putin at G20 summit, but no bilateral talks planned

August 07, 2013, 20:23 UTC+3

He said the two presidents would see each other at the G20 summit but there are no plans to hold a one on one meeting

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WASHINGTON, August 7 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. President Barack Obama hopes to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg this September but no bilateral talks are being planned, a White House representative told ITAR-TASS on condition of anonymity on Wednesday, August 7.

He said the two presidents would see each other at the G20 summit but there are no plans to hold a one on one meeting. However, this does not mean that such a meeting would not be included in the schedule later.

The White House said in an official statement earlier in the day that Obama “still looks forward to traveling to St. Petersburg on September 5-6 to attend the G-20 Summit” but did not say whether a bilateral meeting between the two presidents would take place in St. Petersburg or not.

The Associated Press quoted its own sources in the U.S. administration as saying that Obama was not planning to hold bilateral talks with the Russian president at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg.

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

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 studying the 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.

However the U.S. administration said “there is not enough recent progress” in American-Russian relations to hold a bilateral summit in early September.

“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 White House 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 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 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.

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