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Moscow hopes Obama will accept invitation to Russia

September 02, 2013, 18:52 UTC+3
The invitation to President Obama remains in effect, documents for the cancelled meeting 'will not go down the drain,' says Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
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Photo ITAR-TASS archive

MOSCOW, September 2 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow hopes that U.S. President Barack Obama will accept the invitation to Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

He said a number of documents had been prepared for signing at the Russian-American summit that was supposed to be held in Moscow in September. “It was announced that the visit could not take place for the reasons stated by the American side,” the minister said at a traditional meeting with students and faculty members of Moscow’s MGIMO University of International Relations on Monday, September 2.

“The invitation to President Obama remains in effect. The set of documents that was prepared will not go down the drain, of course,” Lavrov said. “We hope that Barack Obama will use the invitation and visit Russia,” he added.

Obama cancelled his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in September following Russia’s decision to give temporary asylum to U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and 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 White House said in a statement.

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.

The White House stressed that President 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 August 6 that he would attend the upcoming G20 summit in St. Petersburg.

White House Spokesperson Jay Carney said that the president’s schedule had not changed and included his trip to the summit in St. Petersburg.

Carney stressed that the G20 summit was 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 Snowden but also over other issues, including Syria.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan confirmed that Obama would visit Russia in September.

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