MOSCOW, August 30 (RIA Novosti) – There are no plans for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, to have a meeting at the upcoming G20 summit in St. Petersburg, but the two leaders will have a chance to talk there, a Russian presidential aide said Friday.
“No meeting with Obama is planned. It has not been planned, first of all, because both we and the Americans were preparing a full-fledged visit [by Obama] to the country, but you know it will not take place,” Yury Ushakov told journalists.
Putin will, “of course, welcome Obama among other leaders, will shake his hand, and then we’ll see,” Ushakov said. “During the summit, they will have many opportunities to talk.”
Obama was due to visit Putin ahead of the G20 summit, but the US called off that visit earlier this month, citing Russia’s granting of temporary asylum to fugitive former US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
Obama has called for a “pause” in US relations with Russia, while both countries have stressed that cooperation is crucial to their mutual interests and to the world despite clear differences on a broad range of issues.
Snowden, a former contractor for the US National Security Agency (NSA), is wanted by the United States on espionage and other charges after he gave journalists classified documents detailing the NSA’s far-reaching electronic and telephone surveillance programs.
Washington repeatedly called on Moscow to reject his asylum request and send him back to the United States to stand trial. But Russia in early August granted Snowden asylum for a year.