President Obama has cancelled a planned summit with Russian president Vladimir V Putin,officials said Wednesday,a response to frustration at the Russian government for refusing to send Edward J Snowden,the fugitive intelligence analyst,to the United States to face charges of leaking national security secrets.
The move is also a reflection of growing tensions between the two on a series of other issues,including Putins continuing support of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
In a statement,the White House said the president had decided to postpone the summit between the two leaders after concluding that there had not been enough progress made on the bilateral agenda to make a meeting worthwhile.
Given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defence and arms control,global security issues,and human rights in the last twelve 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, Jay Carney,the White House press secretary,said. Carney said Russias disappointing decision to grant temporary asylum to Snowden was also a factor in Obamas decision.
The Kremlin expressed disappointment,especially with the presidents linking of the decision to the case of Snowden. A senior aide to Putin,Yuri Ushakov,said Obama was still welcome to visit,but blamed the US for not wanting to build a stronger partnership to manage bilateral and international issues.
This very problem underlines the fact that the US is still not ready to build relations on an equal basis, Ushakov told reporters at the Kremlin,according to the Interfax news agency.
The daylong summit between the two leaders had been anticipated for months. It was to have taken place in Moscow in September around the time that Obama travels to St Petersburg,Russia,for a meeting of the Group of 20 economic summit. Officials said Obama will still travel to Russia for the economic discussions with other world leaders.
The White House was growing annoyed by Putins intransigence,especially on the fate of Snowden,who had been holed up for a month in a Moscow airport. Russias decision to extend temporary asylum to Snowden last week added to frustration.
In a late-night interview with Jay Leno Tuesday,Obama expressed frustration,saying,There have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality, Obama added.