MOSCOW — Russia has expressed disappointment with the U.S. decision to cancel a summit between the two countries' leaders, but says it still hopes for positive bilateral relations.
The Obama administration's decision to call off the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin led the news in Russia. The meeting was set to take place in Moscow in September, just before the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg.
The White House said Wednesday that it cancelled the summit because there has been insufficient "recent progress" on issues dividing the two countries. In a television interview Tuesday, Obama specifically cited Edward Snowden, saying he was "disappointed" Russia gave asylum to the fugitive former U.S. National Security Agency contractor.
Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum that is renewable every year. Putin has refused to extradite Snowden home to face felony espionage charges for leaking details of clandestine NSA surveillance programs.
Putin has maintained that Snowden’s asylum will not affect relations between the former Cold War foes.
Yuri Ushakov, foreign affairs adviser to Putin, said Wednesday that Obama’s refusal to meet with the Russian leader shows that America isn’t ready to develop relations with Russia on an equal basis.
Ushakov went on to say that if Obama changes his mind, Russia’s summit offer still stands. He also said that Moscow is looking forward to working together with American partners on all key bilateral and multilateral issues.
Moscow and Washington continue to disagree over a number of issues, including missile defense, Syria, adoptions and Snowden.
Obama says he will attend the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg in September, but the two leaders are not scheduled to meet one-on-one during that event.