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‘Announcement on Obama’s Moscow visit in days’
August 6, 2013, 8:56 am

Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin

The two leaders last met in June on the sidelines of the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland [AP]

The White House says an announcement regarding the impending visit of US President Barack Obama to Moscow will be made in a few days.

“While we have a wide range of interests with the Russians, we are continuing to evaluate the utility of a summit. It’s fair to say you can expect we’ll have a decision to announce in the coming days about that,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday.

Calls for the United States to boycott the talks intensified after Russia granted temporary asylum to intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

“That [meeting] would give Mr Putin the kind of respect he doesn’t deserve at this time,” US Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said recently.

US-Russia ties have been strained by their countries contrasting views on the conflict in Syria.

“We obviously disagree with the Russians very strongly about the decision they have made on Mr Snowden, but we disagree with the Russians on a number of other issues, including Syria. And we’ve made those disagreements plain, both publicly and privately, in our discussions with the Russians,” Carney said.

“So when it comes to the utility of a summit in Moscow, a bilateral summit, we are evaluating not just our disagreement over Mr Snowden but on other issues where we have failed to see eye to eye,” added Carney.

President Obama was set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow ahead of the G20 Summit in September in Saint Petersburg.

The two leaders met in June on the sidelines of the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, during which President Putin asserted “our opinions do not yet coincide”.

Obama echoed the Russian president on the disagreements between the two sides on the Syrian crisis.

“With respect to Syria, we do have differing perspectives on the problem, but we share an interest in reducing the violence; securing chemical weapons and ensuring that they’re neither used nor are they subject to proliferation; and that we want to try to resolve the issue through political means, if possible,” Obama said.

Source: Agencies