WASHINGTON, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — US President Barack Obama does not have scheduled meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G20 summit in Australia or the APEC summit next week, special assistant to the US President and senior director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Security Council Celeste Wallander said on Friday.
"Not just in Australia [at the G20] but in Beijing [at the APEC Summit], there is no formal meeting planned," Wallander said at a World Affairs Council conference.
Wallander added, however that "there is no formal meeting planned, but there was no formal meeting planned in Normandy in France and the presidents had some good opportunity for some good conversation," referring to the informal meeting between Presidents Putin and Obama at this year's 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy.
The lack of formal structure in the presidents' dialogue is contributing to the problem of poor US-Russian relations, according to former US ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle who also spoke at the World Affairs Council conference.
"The idea of just putting two leaders together in a pretty unstructured environment without the benefit of discussions that should take place ahead of time to set up a few key things that they might agree on… is a symptom of how far we've fallen within our relationship in such a short time," Beyrle said.
Beyrle, who was President Obama's ambassador to Russia during the US-Russian strategic "reset" in 2010, stated that the highest levels of government in both the United States and Russia are responsible for improving communications.
The presidents have not conducted official bilateral meetings since Obama canceled bilateral talks at last year's G20 summit in St. Petersburg. Only informal meetings have been held between the two leaders since then.