The White House says U.S. relations with Russia cannot be seen as "black and white."
Spokesman Jay Carney spoke to reporters about President Barack Obama's decision to cancel next month's Moscow summit with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Carney says even as the U.S. makes progress with Russia in some areas, there will always be disagreements in others. They include Syria, missile defense, and the Edward Snowden case.
Carney says the White House decided that this is not the optimum time for a summit.
But he said Friday's talks in Washington between Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and their Russian counterparts show there are still important issues to discuss.
Last week, Russia granted temporary asylum to Snowden -- the former intelligence contractor who leaked details of secret U.S. surveillance programs. The move angered the United States which wants him back in the United States for trial.
Mr. Putin decided to let Snowden stay in Russia despite public and private appeals from the United States to send him back.
Mr. Putin's top foreign-policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, said Russia is disappointed by Mr. Obama's decision to cancel the summit, which he blames on the Snowden affair. But he said the invitation for Mr. Obama to meet with Mr. Putin remains open.
Mr. Obama still plans to travel to Russia next month to attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg. He has added a two-day visit to Sweden before heading to the summit.