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Obama 'Disappointed' with Russia Over Snowden Asylum

President Barack Obama (file photo)
President Barack Obama (file photo)
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is "disappointed" Russia granted asylum to former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who is wanted for leaking information about secret U.S. surveillance programs.   

Taping an appearance on NBC television's Tonight Show, Obama said Tuesday that even though the U.S. and Russia lack a formal extradition treaty, the U.S. has tried to cooperate with Russia on such cases in the past. He said there are times when Russia slips back into Cold War thinking.

Obama confirmed he plans to attend the G20 summit in St. Petersburg in September, but did not say whether he would hold a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The president also said he has "no patience" with foreign laws discriminating against gays and lesbians, in answer to a question about Russia's new law banning what it calls gay propaganda. Mr. Obama said Russia is not unique in passing such laws.

Meanwhile the U.S. State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet with their Russian counterparts Friday in Washington.

A State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday the talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will include discussions on Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and the new START arms treaty.

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told the New York Times that the Kremlin expects a very intense discussion. He says there are quite a few "sharp, controversial, and difficult questions" facing both countries.

Russia and the United States also differ on Syria, with Moscow arming the Assad regime and the United States supporting the rebels.

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