WASHINGTON, December 21, (ITAR-TASS). Russia and the United States do not have any current discussions about a bilateral summit, but Barack Obama plans to go to Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi for the G8 summit, President Barack Obama’s key foreign policy adviser, Ben Rhodes, said in an exclusive interview to Itar-Tass.
Last year the Russia-U.S. summit that should have taken place in Moscow was cancelled at the last moment by Washington. This happened soon after U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia. The White House said that the case was not only in Russia’s decision to grant asylum, but that there wasn’t enough progress on the US-Russian agenda to justify a meeting.
This time Rhodes confirmed this information. In reply to an Itar-Tass question what would be needed to successfully organise the U.S. president’s visit to Russia and a bilateral summit in 2014, he said: “As for next year, we don’t have any current plans for a bilateral visit. However we do know that Russia is hosting the G8 in Sochi. So the President will be making his third trip to Russia next year. We expect him to go to Sochi for the G8, and I would anticipate there being a very full agenda there.”
The adviser recalled that in March The Hague would host the Nuclear Security Summit. “I also would assume some degree of high-level Russian participation in the Nuclear Security Summit,” he said. “So looking forward those engagements at the Nuclear Security Summit and then at the G8 in Russia will definitely provide for opportunities for bilateral consultations.”
Being requested to confirm whether prospects for a full-format bilateral summit were being discussed at this stage, Rhodes said: “No, we don’t have any current discussions about that. That doesn’t mean it won't happen. But right now the G8 is the one trip that we are planning for.