Obama-Putin meeting at summit in jeopardy
President Obama's scheduled trip to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September is in limbo because of uncertainty surrounding National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who fled to Russia and is seeking asylum there.
In addition to the Snowden case, relations between the United States and Russia have become strained in recent weeks over the ongoing conflict in Syria, disputes over nuclear weapons and concerns about the Putin government's treatment of dissidents.
The White House announced in June that Obama would meet with Putin in Moscow around the time of the annual Group of 20 nations summit, which Russia is hosting Sept. 5-6 in St. Petersburg.
White House press secretary Jay Carney declined repeatedly this week to say whether Obama still plans to visit Moscow.
“The president intends to travel to Russia for the G20 Summit,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “And I have no further announcements to make beyond what we've said in the past about the president's travel to Russia in the fall.”
Pressed a second time, Carney acknowledged that he was being “deliberately vague.”
This would not be the first canceled Obama-Putin meeting. Last year, when Obama hosted the Group of 8 summit at Camp David, Putin stayed home, saying he was too busy in Moscow finalizing his new cabinet.
The United States has revoked the passport of Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked classified details of government intelligence and surveillance operations to journalists.
He has been staying in the transit zone at Moscow's airport for several weeks.
The Obama administration could be leaving the Moscow visit up in the air as negotiating leverage, hoping to persuade the Russians to help return Snowden to the United States, where he would face charges.
Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the White House's cancellation threat could be effective leverage over Putin, who likely wants to avoid an embarrassment on the world stage.
“When the spotlight of the world is on him and Russia, he doesn't want that spotlight to reveal a lot of negative things, which are going to be distractions,” Kuchins said.
Pulling the plug on the U.S.-Russia talks would deepen the tensions between the two leaders.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Russia scoffs at alliance with West on Syria
- Mexico seizes El Chapo’s planes, cars, houses
- France hails 130 victims of Paris terrorist attacks
- Suicide bomber targets crowd of Shiites in Nigeria
- Civilian officers slain by gunmen in southern Mexico
- Watchdog counts $1 billion wasted in Afghanistan
- France, Russia iron out alliance against Islamic State
- In Uganda, Pope Francis pays tribute to nation’s martyrs
- Stability marks Merkel’s decade as German chancellor
- Colombia frees 30 jailed FARC rebels as peace talk gesture
- Belgian raids nab 16 in hunt for terrorism suspects