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August 07, 2013

Obama cancels trip to Moscow

President Barack Obama canceled his trip to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month after Russia granted National Security Leaker leaker Edward Swowden asylum, the White House said Wednesday.

The decision was not solely based on Swowden. The United States has grown frustration with Russia on other issues, including missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations and human rights.

"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," according to a statement released by White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Carney said the United States values cooperation on a variety of issues between the two nations, including the New START Treaty, and cooperation on Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea.

Obama, who is traveling in California, said in an interview Tuesday that he was “disappointed” by Russia’s move to grant Snowden asylum for one year. But he said the two nations still work together on Afghanistan and the Boston bombing.

"There are times when they slip back into Cold War thinking and Cold War mentality," Obama said on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "What I continually say to them and to President Putin, that’s the past."

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with their Russian counterparts Friday in Washington to discuss the relationship.

Snowden is accused of leaking information about government surveillance programs and has been charged with espionage. He fled to Hong Kong and then Russia, where he remained at the Moscow airport for than a month before Russia granted him asylum last week.

The decision will only trouble an already troubled relationship between Obama and Putin. The two remain at odds over the civil war in Syria and the United States has been frustrated with Russia's decision to ban U.S. adoptions of Russian children and potential human rights violations.

Obama has also criticized a new law in Russia banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." He said he has "no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians and transgendered persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them."

“I’ve been very clear when it comes to universal rights, people’s basic freedoms," he told Leno.

Snowden is accused of leaking information about government surveillance programs and has been charged with espionage. He fled to Hong Kong and then Russia, where he remained at the Moscow airport for than a month before Russia granted him asylum last week.

Moscow has accused the United States of installing a missile shield in Eastern Europe as a deterrent against Russia.

Obama will attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, but will no longer meet with Putin in Moscow as he had planned in early September. Instead, he will travel to Sweden.

Obama and Putin last met in June at the Group of 8 summit in Northern Ireland. The United States has informed Russia that "it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda."

Sen. Charles Schumer, who urged Obama to cancel the meeting with Putin, said Obama made the right decision.

"President Putin is acting like a school-yard bully and doesn’t deserve the respect a bilateral summit would have accorded him," he said.

The G-20 summit is scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg Sept. 5-6. Obama will make his first visit to Sweden before the summit.

"Sweden is a close friend and partner to the United States," Carney said. "Sweden plays a key leadership role on the international stage, including in opening new trade and investment opportunities through the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, advancing clean technologies, and promoting environmental sustainability."

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Davis

What? Obama and Secretary Horse Face don't want to risk having Putin shove Snowden where the sun don't shine? LOL What a bunch of losers.

Anybody else notice that once Snowden showed up in Moscow all the sabre rattling over Syria dried up real quick?

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