News / Europe

Obama Cancels Meeting with Russian President

Obama Cancels Putin Summit, Cites Snowden, Other Differencesi
X
August 08, 2013 12:54 AM
In a major diplomatic rebuke, President Barack Obama has canceled a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting was supposed to have taken place next month in Moscow before the G20 summit in St Petersburg. VOA Senior White House Correspondent Dan Robinson reports.
President Barack Obama has canceled a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was supposed to take place next month before the G20 summit in Russia.  
For a U.S. president who made the "reset" of relations with Russia a major foreign-policy priority, the sharp diplomatic rebuke to Putin marks a pivotal point for his relations with the Russian leader and the overall bilateral relationship.

A White House statement said that after a "careful review" it was determined there was "not enough recent progress" in the bilateral agenda to hold the summit in early September.

The statement noted key areas on which Washington and Moscow have cooperated, including the New START [nuclear arms reduction] Treaty, Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea.

But it said that given the lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues and human rights, it would be "more constructive to postpone the summit."

In Russia, President Putin's foreign affairs adviser said Obama's decision reflected the United States' inability to develop relations on an "equal basis."  Yuri Ushakov added the Obama invitation to visit Moscow still stands and Russia remains ready to continue working on all key issues.

Snowden controversy

But the biggest recent issue in relations was Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor who leaked details of U.S. electronic surveillance programs.

Russian President Putin rejected the U.S. request to expel Snowden to face U.S. espionage charges.

The White House statement called the issue a "factor" considered in assessing the current state of the bilateral relationship.

In an appearance Tuesday night on NBC-TV's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Obama said he was "disappointed" when Russia granted asylum to Snowden, saying it reflected some "underlying challenges" with Moscow.

He cited Russian cooperation on counter-terrorism, including after the Boston bombings, and supply lines for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.  But he said there have been times when Russia slipped back into "Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality."

In Washington, Anthony Cordesman, a foreign policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he thought the White House decision was aimed at a domestic audience, and that it did not advance the relationship.

"I can’t help but think that a lot of this is American domestic politics," said Cordesman. "That if you had a less partisan Congress, a less extreme political climate, the United States would take the lesson from the entire Cold War, when we faced a much more serious problem with the former Soviet Union. You talk. You do not send a message that is meaningful by not communicating, by not meeting," he said.

The White House issued a separate statement Wednesday saying the president will travel to Sweden before the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, which he will still attend.

Calling Sweden a "close friend and partner" of the United States, it said talks will focus on on U.S. - EU trade and investment and other issues.

As assessments are made of damage to relations from the summit postponement, previously scheduled talks that Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plan to hold in Washington with their Russian counterparts will go ahead.

The White House said those discussions will assess how the two sides can "best make progress moving forward on the full range of issues" in the bilateral relationship.

Syria continues to be one major issue of disagreement. Russia continues to support President Bashar al-Assad in his fight against rebels. The United States is providing the rebels with small arms and other support.  

There has been little progress toward convening an international conference that would involve the Assad government and the Syrian rebel coalition. The death toll in Syria is now estimated at more than 100,000.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: DAVID LULASA from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
August 08, 2013 5:24 AM
russia should not forget the visit and dialogue with john kerry that was held there recently..if only that is followed up by russia,there will be an improvement of human rights in russia and the world.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 08, 2013 2:12 AM
It looks everything has happened having good reasons to happen. It is time for Putin to make some decision how to deal Snowden as over a month has passed since he stayed in a Rossian airport. As for Obama, if he meets with Putin following the schedule, he would be condemned by Repubricans as he is chicken to Russia. I am more interested in how they would meet in G20 summit in Rossia. It seems unlikely Obaba cancel attending the summit. Thank you.

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
August 07, 2013 8:35 PM
To my mind, Obama’s cancelling of the Meeting with Mr. Putin is wise and well-thought-out. What new breakthroughs can be anticipated in the preplanned Obama-Putin Summit with Russia ruled on the pattern resembling Brazil 1972, Chile 1976 and Argentina 1979 or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe in Africa? Although previously a Nuke State, Russia after 14 years of FSB (federal security service) rule under Mr. Putin became a secondary country in deep economic/financial/military/scientific/technological/demographic/educational/health care crisis. The country is plagued by rampant unmanageable corruption, without glimpse of rule of law. So called courts of law just mock the law with more than 99% guilty verdicts. The high-profile example are attempts to jail Mr. Navalny, the opposition leader: two times earlier absurd charges against him were dropped due to lack of evidence, the judge chosen for the third attempt to cage Mr. Navalny didn’t pronounce a single “no guilty” verdict in his previous 150 cases in 18 months, the case had signs of petty revenge for defendant’s political views, the defendant, Mr.Navalny, was on unpaid job for performing his duties in question, he didn’t sign any document that led to the “crime”, witnesses of prosecution contradicted themselves, the judge’s ruling copied the prosecution’s statement, but nevertheless the defendant was sentenced to five years in prison, handcuffed, put into a cell . But lo and behold, the next day the uncompromising prosecution begged the court of law for the immediate release of the “criminal”.

Mr. Ushakov, Russian foreign affairs adviser to Mr. Putin, commented Obama’s decision as unfair and unequal. But what kind of equality maybe with a country where the President got his unprecedented third term in office (against Constitution) after rigged and disputed election, where the Parliament was also elected in widely rigged election, where dozens of articles of the Constitution are indefinitely suspended and basic human rights aren’t observed?
In Response

by: Joseph Abishaloom from: 6400NsheridanRDIL
August 07, 2013 11:31 PM
Proud of Mr. president Barack Obama ; DOING YOUR BEST. Gracious God, bless you.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
August 07, 2013 8:23 PM
Obama is just avoiding to challenge Putin. Obama should have the guts of former President Reagan to challenge the Russians. Just avoiding to meet is not enough. Definite punitive action against the Russians is required.

by: Markt
August 07, 2013 4:50 PM
It is interesting to hear Obama mention that the Russians have slipped back into their Cold War attitude, when the United States has never put aside its Cold War attitude at all..... We still think we should be the world's savior concerning all things not-American in thinking and policy making. Dialogue between nations is critical and our decision not to meet at G20 makes us look like bratty kids who didn't get their way. I have to side with Putin on this one, we do have a hard time establishing relations on an equal basis, as we tend to see ourselves as superior most times, and this is the wrong way of thinking and one of our many shortcomings. I love this country, I am as American as they come having served this Country for 12 years in two Branches of Service (Air Force and Marine Corps) during Operation Urgent Fury and Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1981 to 1993). We need to drop our stance as a World Leader and start acting like a World Partner.

by: Ali Amiri from: Tehran
August 07, 2013 3:59 PM
It stands to reason that the two super Nuke powers should reach an agreement over such a sophisticated issue to show a positive gesture to other nations that they both are seriously after controlling of Nuke Weapons therefore they must stop this dangerous race either. Their close bilateral cooperation on other globally related concerns and grounds , including Syria , Egypt , severe humans rights violation by self ruled unellected ostensible theocratic Regimes in the Middle East and other problems is substantially necessary . Edward Snowden is now gone and what should have not happened is already happened ! Makes no difference now, who at fault was on that ! Nonetheless his case must not overshadow All these significant pending issues between America and Russia ! Rebuke reflects Rebuke !

by: Haron from: Afghanistan
August 07, 2013 2:07 PM
as I think and as i watch US lost it's behavior in the world specially in Afghanistan. for US keeping the prestige in middle level of behavior is out of control. if the cold war between US and Russian rose the result will be goes to Russia side. US mustn't forget that today is not 1980's that people of the world be deceived that Russia has wrong policy. every babies know that US is the second devil, big liar and failed country in the world.
In Response

by: Lara
August 08, 2013 6:27 AM
And who is the first devil? Putin.
In Response

by: Egor from: Russia - Thailand
August 07, 2013 9:44 PM
"Every babies know that US is the second devil, big liar and failed country in the world." Sound like in Hollywood movie...

But even now Russia is not a better place for its own citizens. Smart people and middle class are trying to run out.
Perhaps foreign policy is good. But still many social problems are remaining.

Dan Robinson - Author didn't mention China.

I think for Russia better keep good relationship with China than with USA. It's true that China now is new superpower. And let me remind you communist superpower.

If we look deeper into history Russia was communist country before too. And as a result of cold war that system was destroyed.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs