Obama cancels Moscow summit with Putin
Obama confronts Russia on Snowden, anti-gay lawAgence France-Presse . Washington
The president, Barack Obama, has decided to cancel a summit in Moscow with the president, Vladimir Putin, a US official said Wednesday, signalling Washington’s displeasure over the Edward Snowden affair.
Obama has confronted Russia over its granting of asylum to fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden and its anti-gay measures, saying Moscow occasionally displays a ‘Cold War mentality.’
During an appearance on a late-night comedy show Tuesday, Obama said Moscow was still being helpful in Afghanistan and on counter-terrorism but spoke of ‘underlying challenges that we have had with Russia lately.’
‘There have been times where they flip back in the Cold War thinking and in a Cold War mentality,’ Obama said on NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.’
‘What I consistently say to them, and what I say to president (Vladimir) Putin, is that’s the past, and we have to think about the future. And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to cooperate more effectively than we do.’
Obama insisted he would attend next month’s G20 summit in St. Petersburg, but did not say whether he would meet with Putin for one-on-one talks.
Obama said he was ‘disappointed’ by Russia’s decision to award one year’s temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, the former IT contractor who leaked details of vast US surveillance programmes to the media.
Snowden was recently allowed to relocate to a secret safe house after being marooned in Moscow’s airport for five weeks.
Washington had revoked his passport and demanded he be sent back to face charges of espionage over the leaks, which detailed the US National Security Agency’s gathering of vast amounts of phone call logs and Internet data.
Obama also lashed out at Russia over a recent law criminalizing the dissemination of information about homosexuality to minors, which critics fear could legitimise widespread discrimination.
‘I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them,’ Obama said, noting Russia ‘is not unique’ in passing such laws.
The Russian measure, signed into law by Putin, introduces fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for citizens who disseminate information about homosexuality to minors, but critics fear it could legitimise homophobia.
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The president, Barack Obama, has decided to cancel a summit in Moscow with the president, Vladimir Putin, a US official said Wednesday, signalling Washington’s displeasure over the Edward Snowden affair. Full story