U.S. plans to go ahead with high-level Russia talks: sources

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 06, 2013 1:14 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will hold talks with Russia's defense and foreign ministers in Washington on Friday despite Moscow's decision to grant asylum to former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

Moscow's decision to reject U.S. pleas to hand over Snowden has prompted President Barack Obama to rethink whether to hold a summit in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.

The status of this week's so-called "2+2" talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and their Russian counterparts had been unclear.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying preparations for the talks were complete and that the agenda included bilateral matters as well as the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Eric Beech)