News / USA

US Vague on Whether Obama Will Go to Moscow Amid Snowden Flap

FILE -  President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House, June 11, 2013.FILE - President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House, June 11, 2013.
x
FILE -  President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House, June 11, 2013.
FILE - President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House, June 11, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— The White House is deliberately leaving it vague as to whether President Barack Obama will attend talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin if the saga involving former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is unresolved.
 
Putin has invited Obama for face-to-face talks in Moscow ahead of a St. Petersburg summit in September with leaders of the G20 nations, and the White House announced on June 17 that Obama would both attend the summit and go to the Russian capital.
 
But that announcement was before Snowden fled to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23 to avoid facing U.S. espionage charges for revealing details about secret U.S. surveillance programs involving phone and Internet data.
 
Snowden, stuck in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, has since applied for temporary asylum in Russia, putting Moscow further on the spot. The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Putin would not be the one making the decision.
 
Pressed on Wednesday on whether Obama will still go on the Moscow part of the trip, White House spokesman Jay Carney was vague.
 
“I have no further announcements on our travel to Russia. The president intends to go to Russia in September,” he said.
 
An Obama decision not to go to attend talks with Putin would register his displeasure with the Russian leader's refusal thus far to expel Snowden back to the United States.
 
An administration official said the White House vagueness about the Obama Moscow visit “reinforces without being belligerent that this is an irritant.”
 
Obama and Putin spoke by phone about Snowden last Friday. Administration officials say Obama's message was the same as that communicated by other U.S. officials at various levels to their Russian counterparts - that Russia has the legal basis to expel Snowden and should do so.
 
The Snowden affair has already prompted a U.S. lawmaker to suggest that Washington should consider boycotting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics if Snowden is granted asylum in Russia.
 
“I love the Olympics, but I hate what the Russian government is doing throughout the world,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC on Tuesday. “If they give asylum to a person who I believe has committed treason against the United States, that's taking it to a new level.”
 
Putin signaled on Wednesday that he did not want a dispute over Snowden to derail Russian relations with the United States.
 
The White House agreed.
 
“We share President Putin's views expressed again, that we don't want this matter to do harm to our bilateral relations,” said Carney.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid