Obama Cancels Private Meeting with Putin After Russia Grants Snowden Asylum

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Posted: Aug 07, 2013 11:30 AM
Obama Cancels Private Meeting with Putin After Russia Grants Snowden Asylum

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama cancelled a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was set to be held in Moscow during the G20 summit next month. The sudden cancellation comes just six days after Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum, despite the Administration’s plea for Snowden to be returned to the United States to face criminal charges for espionage and theft.

Press Secretary Jay Carney stated that the decision to cancel the meeting came from numerous, unsolved issues between the United States and Russia:

"Given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last 12 months, we have informed the Russian government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda," the statement said. "Russia's disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship."

President Obama told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show that he was “disappointed” that Russia granted Snowden asylum, but that he would still be attending the G20-summit in early September.

“I will be going to that,” the president said, “because the G20 summit is the main forum where we talk about the economy, the world economy, with all the top economic powers in the world. So it’s not something unique to Russia.”

Carney told the press that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry will continue to meet with Russian officials “to discuss how we can best make progress moving forward on the full range of issues in our bilateral relationship."