WASHINGTON, September 4 (Itar-Tass) - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday begins his European tour during which he will at first visit Stockholm and the proced on his way to St Petersburg to attend a G20 summit.
The Swedish part of the tour arose after early in August Obama decided to postpone the earlier planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Such a step was prompted by the situation relating to the granting of temporary asylum by Russia to CIA ex-agent Edward Snowden.
In vie ofthat, the American administration made a special statement on August 7, pointing out that it did not see sufficient progress in relations with Russia for holdinga US-Russia summit at the beginning of September. The White House emphasized that this meant not a cancellation of the (bilateral) summit but precisely an intention to postpone it until more significnt results are achieved in the two countries' common agenda.
On the same day Washignton announced that Stockholm appeared instead of Moscow in the work schedule of the American president. An official announcement by the White Houses mentioned the key role which Sweden plays in the international arena. It also mentioned, specifically, fresh opportunities within the scope of trade and investment partnership between the USA and the European Union.
Obama is due to arrive in the Swedish capital by air on Wednesday morning. Immediately upon arrival, he will leave the airport for talks with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. The sides are expected to discuss, in particular, matters of world politics and economics, the climate change problem, and trade relations. After the discussion, thr US President and the Swedish Prime Minister are to give a press conference.
Later in the day, Obama is scheduled to visit a Stockhom-based synagogue. Thereby the American leader will honor the memory of Raul Wallenberg who had saved the lives of thousands of Jews, rescuing them from the then Nazi-occupied Budapest at the end of the Second World War. Obama will also visit the Royal Institute of Technology.
On Thursday, Obama will be invited to the Royal Palace for a dinner with the King and Queen.
After the audience with the august persons, the American president will travel to St Petersburg to attend a G20 summit which will be held there from September 5 to 6. In this connection journalists asked Adminidtration officials many times whether Obama intended to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimit Putin. White House officials assure reporters that both l eaders will be able to socialize with each other, emphasizing that neither a bilateral meeting nor a separate brief conversation between the two presidents in the lobby are expected.
During the G20 summit, Obama is expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings with his opposite numbers from other countries. An exact time-table of the talks or persons he will meet are not known so far.