WASHINGTON, September 3 (Itar-Tass) - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday is beginning a European tour. He will visit Stockholm, as well as St. Petersburg, where the Group of Twenty (G20) summit will take place on September 5-6.
It has been initially planned that ahead of the visit to St. Petersburg Obama would visit Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, the White House decided to postpone the talks because of the situation with a former US intelligence service employee Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia. In this connection, the US administration issued a statement on August 7 in which said that it did not see sufficient progress in relations with Russia to hold a US-Russian summit in early September. The White House stressed that it was not about cancelling the Moscow summit, but its postponement until better results on the common agenda are achieved.
On the way to St. Petersburg, the US president will visit Sweden on September 4-5. The White House has not specified the visit’s programme. However, it said in a release that “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 US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, advancing clean technologies, and promoting environmental sustainability.”
Washington has said that during the G20 summit, Obama and Putin will be able to communicate with each other. This time, there will be no bilateral meeting or a separate brief conversation of the presidents on the sidelines, a US administration official told reporters. However, she clarified the two heads of states would have many opportunities to talk during working sessions of the summit. The US official also noted that the United States was ready to continue productive cooperation with the Russian Federation.
The US administration has repeatedly emphasised Obama’s intention to participate in the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, regardless of any surrounding circumstances. White House spokesman Jay Carney made clear the two leaders would meet in some way in St Petersburg since Putin is hosting the summit. “He will certainly meet with Putin,” Carney told reporters earlier.
Washington has not informed whether the US leader plans to discuss with the G20 colleagues in St. Petersburg, the situation in Syria. However, a source in the German government said on Monday that this topic would be discussed “on the sidelines” of the upcoming meeting.