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April 15, 2021

Russia “disappointed” bilateral talks with US cancelled

The Kremlin says it is “disappointed” the US cancelled bilateral talks in September, after Russia granted asylum to intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the BBC informs.
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 Mr Obama still plans to attend the G20 economic talks in St Petersburg.
Mr Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, has admitted leaking information about US surveillance programmes to the media.
Russian foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said on Wednesday 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 the press.
“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.”
But he added the invitation for the bilateral summit was still open.
“Russian representatives are ready to continue working together with American partners on all key issues on the bilateral and multilateral agenda,” Mr Ushakov said.
The decision to cancel the talks, announced during a trip by the US president to Los Angeles, comes the morning after Mr Obama said he was “disappointed” with Russia’s decision to offer Mr 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 Mr Snowden temporary asylum, the White House cited a lack of progress on issues ranging from missile defence to human rights.

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