Photo: Barack Obama and Jay Leno (Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
U.S. President Barack Obama cancelled the meeting he was going to have with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in September citing, among other reasons, Russia’s granting of temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, a White House spokesman told Efe Wednesday.
Obama had been scheduled to meet with Putin in Moscow before attending the G20 summit that will take place in September in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
“Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia Summit in early September,” the White House said in a statement.
Russia’s “disappointing” decision to grant temporary asylum to Snowden “was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship,” the White House said.
In addition, the White House mentioned as another reason for cancellation of the meeting the “lack of progress” over the last year on issues such as missile defense, trade relations, global security matters and human rights, among others.
“We have informed the Russian Government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda,” the White House said.
In an appearance on Tuesday night on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, Obama said he was disappointed with Russia’s decision to grant asylum to Snowden, who has been accused of espionage by Washington for making public information about the National Security Agency’s secret communications monitoring programs.