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Russia disappointed at Obama snub

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Russia disappointed at Obama snub

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MOSCOW – The Kremlin says it is “disappointed” the United States cancelled bilateral talks in September, after Russia granted asylum to intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign affairs adviser said the move showed the US could not develop ties with Russia on an “equal basis”.A White House aide said Mr Snowden’s asylum had deepened the pre-existing tension between the two counties.But Obama still plans to attend the G20 economic talks in St Petersburg.Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, has admitted leaking information about American surveillance programmes to the media.Russian foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said yesterday that Russia was not to blame over the Snowden affair.“This decision is clearly linked to the situation with former agent of US special services [Edward] Snowden, which hasn’t been created by us,” he said during a phone conference with journalists.“For many years, the Americans have avoided signing an extradition agreement,” Mr Ushakov said, “and they have invariably responded negatively to our requests for extradition of people who committed crimes on the territory of Russia, pointing at the absence of such agreement.”The decision to cancel the talks, announced during a trip by Obama to Los Angeles, cames the morning after the president said he was “disappointed” with Russia’s decision to offer Snowden asylum for a year.“We have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a US-Russia Summit,” the White House said in a statement.In addition to Russia’s “disappointing decision” to grant Snowden temporary asylum, the White House cited a lack of progress on issues ranging from missile defence to human rights. (BBC)