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Snowden effect: Obama cancels meeting with Putin

Washington, August 7
US President Barack Obama is cancelling a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for next month in Moscow, the White House said on Wednesday.

The Obama administration has repeatedly expressed disappointment after Moscow granted temporary asylum to former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, rejecting US pleas to hand him over to face criminal charges, including espionage.

The White House, in a statement, said it valued "achievements made" between Russia and the United States, but cited a "lack of progress" on a host of other issues "such as missile defence and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society".

"Russia's disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship," the statements said.

Obama plans to add a stop in Sweden as part of his travels to the G20 summit in early September, a White House official said. On Tuesday, Obama confirmed that he would go to Russia this fall for a G20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia, but said he was "disappointed" with Moscow's decision on Snowden.

Senator Charles Schumer praised Obama's decision to cancel the bilateral summit with Putin. "The President clearly 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," the New York Democrat said in a statement. Reuters

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