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Russian Communications Minister: Situation around Snowden has no impact on cooperation with US

August 07, 2013, 6:16 UTC+3
“We never divagated on subjects that may be hot from the point of view of the mass media,” he said
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Photo ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev

Photo ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev

WASHINGTON, August 7 (Itar-Tass) - The situation around U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, was not raised at meeting Russia Minister of Communications Nikolai Nikiforov has in Washington.

“We never divagated on subjects that may be hot from the point of view of the mass media,” he said on Wednesday at a meeting with journalists. “We were focused on concrete work.”

“The story about Snowden was never raised at any of the meetings,” including with U.S. chief information officer Steven VanRoekel. “Our conversation has an utterly concrete character,” Nikoforov noted, adding that political aspects had been touched upon only in the context of Moscow’s and Washington’s positions in various international organizations dealing with information and communications technologies. “The biggest of them is the International Telecommunications Union. Its recent forum in Dubai saw heated debates regarding Internet regulations issues,” he said.

“We have a great number of subjects for discussion,” he went on to say. “We discuss the subject of broadband Internet access, which is important for both Russia and the United States. We discussed the development of the IT sector - an area where we see mutual benefits, because both markets are very big and present enormous possibilities for companies.”

The Russian minister said that they had agreed with U.S. partners “to work more closely during the preparations for meetings of such international organizations as the International Telecommunications Union, in order to present a well-balanced consolidated position there.” “It is a secret to no one that many our colleagues from other countries are oriented towards the positions of Russia and the United States,” he admitted. “That is why it is important to learn to agree our approaches on key issues to be able to achieve quicker results,” he said.

According to Nikiforov, the Russian side is interested to have a number of important sectoral documents passed in the near future. “Thus, in 2015, the international telecommunications community is to decide about the use of the so-called lower range of frequencies for LTE technologies,” he said. “The thing is that analog television broadcasting had a very wide range of frequencies. Now, analog television is being superseded by digital broadcasting, which uses cables, satellites and utterly different technologies. The United States, at the initiative of the president, has adopted a very ambitious plan, under which about 500 megahertz of the spectrum are to be vacated in order to make it possible for our mobile gadgets have bigger capacity in terms of volumes and rates of data transmission.”

In his words, there are a number of other “difficult issues, where Russia’s and United States’ positions should be brought closer together.” These, he said, include problems of standardization and geostationary satellites. “In this sense, the agenda has very many concrete interesting tasks,” he added.

So, he stressed, “the subject of Snowden in no way impacts our routine work” with American colleagues.

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