No summit, but U.S. and Russian officials meet
August 9th, 2013
12:42 PM ET

No summit, but U.S. and Russian officials meet

By Jill Dougherty

Opening a meeting with top Russian officials, Secretary of State John Kerry referred to himself and to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as "old hockey players" who both know "that diplomacy, like hockey, can sometimes result in the occasional collision."

But he said at the State Department that Russia and the United States are "candid" about issues on which they agree and disagree and he is looking forward to a "very honest and robust discussion" on all issues in the U.S.- Russian relationship.

The meeting, which also includes Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, occurred two days after President Barack Obama canceled a planned summit next month with Russian President Vladimir Putin following Moscow's decision to grant admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden temporary asylum.

The United States wants Russia to return Snowden to face trial on charges under the Espionage Act, but Russia instead granted him at least a year of asylum and he is in an unknown location in the country.

The administration cited a lack of progress in bilateral relations since Putin regained the presidency a year ago, but also noted in a statement that the Snowden development was a factor as well. Although, an administration official told CNN at the time that the talks with Putin were likely to have been canceled regardless.

Obama will still attend a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in early September, but now will go to Sweden beforehand instead of stopping in Moscow.

"It's no secret that we have experienced some challenging moments, and obviously not just over the Snowden case." Kerry said.

But he added the meeting with Russian officials remains important "above and beyond the collisions and the moments of disagreement."

He said it was important to make progress on the issues of missile defense and strategic issues, including Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear program, North Korea, and Syria.

On Syria, Kerry said "to avoid institutional collapse and descent into chaos" the ultimate answer is a negotiated political solution and the still-delayed Geneva II conference is a "step toward that solution."

Lavrov, in his opening comments, appeared to criticize Obama's decision not to meet with Putin, couching it in diplomatic language as a lost opportunity.

"We were preparing a package, a number of documents, for approval at the meeting between the two presidents," he said, adding there were to be statements on enhancing anti-drug cooperation and on nuclear issues.

The White House has referred to its decision as a postponement of the summit and Moscow insists that the invitation stands.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov was quoted in the Russian media as saying that Russia has no plans to "retaliate" for the decision and "hopes the U.S. will get back to the issue sooner or later."

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Alex279

    "...citing no progress?" - Lets see:

    Compare calm judgments about situation in Syria of John Kerry and President Obama vs. erratic emotional reactions by Hillary Clinton only one years ago - actually this is what Georg W. would call "amazing progress".

    Missile defense issues - the matter has been stabilized and rhetoric is toned down. This is also progress.

    What else: Snowden? And the fact that president Obama is "troubled" (in his own words) about anti-gay propaganda law in Russia? But if president Obama worries about these two issues, which are actually too minor, then perhaps, it is also a good news because there are no bigger issues to worry about.

    August 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  2. Scott Cagle

    Trying to find out how to be a man

    August 12, 2013 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • George patton

      A good start in that direction Scott, would be to start thinking for yourself and quit believing everything that comes out of Washington D.C. as reported by the right-wing news media! That way, you will sooner or later realize that the Russians are right, especially when it comes to Edward Snowden!!!

      August 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  3. USAPeasant

    Lol so let me get this right. Obama cancelled the summit, but they are still having talks with Russia aka a summit? So basically we are still having a summit with Russia, except its just going to be Krazy Kerry and Loopy Lavrov instead of Obama and Putin. Just another typical whacky day in politics.

    Not that I blame Obama, after all Putin is downright creepy. I sure as heck wouldn't want to be left in a room alone with him.

    August 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Obama should be more careful what he says about Putin. Putin doesn't take criticism lightly. In Russia, any critics are "silenced" one way or another. They either die on the streets from never apprehended gunmen, die of poisoning, or are arrested on "tax charges" and sent to prison in Siberia with sentences designed to keep them there until after the next "elections". Obama would be wise to employ a "taster" to check anything before he eats or drinks! Putin is not a very "nice guy"!!!

      August 12, 2013 at 8:26 am | Reply
  4. boungiorno

    committee of 300

    August 11, 2013 at 5:42 am | Reply
  5. April

    Snowden embarrassed Obama–I was thinking–Snowden says the NSA can get around all the encryption codes of any computers in the country --Then that means they can get into the centers that collect the information from the electronic voting machines–hmmmmmmmm

    August 10, 2013 at 11:38 am | Reply
  6. peppy

    Its hard to believe, but Putin has made oblunder boy look even worse !!!

    August 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • Maria1119

      Really? Why don't you aks Putin why he put the members of the band Pu$$y Riot in jail? Hatred is clouding GOPers judgement to a dangerous level.

      August 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
      • necronn99

        You think Oblunder can look any worse man you need to catch up he already below Hitler.

        August 11, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • ezdriver

      LOL ... still smarting from Obama having stung cons so badly in 2012 huh.

      August 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  7. Jfhjklfgh Fdgjgjk

    sensorship is in full effect now

    August 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  8. Jfhjklfgh Fdgjgjk

    guess the military industriak complex does not want me to help others because it will not serve their purpose

    August 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  9. Jfhjklfgh Fdgjgjk

    like my email was hacked by the patriot act

    August 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  10. Jfhjklfgh Fdgjgjk

    obama campaign asked for money from millions of people not me or wait it was me and the obama campaign did receive millions of dollars to win the campaign–so is my email going to be turned back on because of the patriot act

    August 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  11. Jfhjklfgh Fdgjgjk

    snowden was free or not free when russia did or did not keep him free and why is a tool in big brother privet sector being held to a different standard and being tryed by the private sector news I mean media I mean fortune 500 company I mean international corporation I mean illegal alian anchor baby farm I mean money grubbing back stabbing forien gov. I mean margret thatcher I mean the puppets puppet master the illegal alian I mean the military industrial complex I mean the lable maker–i am not going to watch the big brother mouth piece press conf. but you already know that because you will be having my brain scaned by one of your spies inserted into my life by the judge you chose when DHS put the command out to arrest politicos who begged for money from millions of people world wide so the truth was not spoken about durring a nato conference using the gov lable maker like calling occupy wall street terorists–nice work liers.

    August 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  12. George patton

    ..... but I have no issue if Obama demands Vladimir Putin be thrown under the bus.

    August 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • Clint Eastwood

      Well I do, Phunnie boy! You must really love those right-wing thugs in Washington or otherwise you posted the above just for your personal amusement. Tell me, are you caught up in the right-wing lynch mob mentality, well are you, punk?

      August 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply
      • peppy

        Go stick your useless head in bamman behind, have a nice day

        August 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  13. George patton

    I'm glad that the U.S. and Russia are at least talking to one another. I only wish to Kingdom Come that Obama would drop his insane demand that Edward Snowden be thrown under the bus by Vladimir Putin. As everyone knows, Edward Snowden has absolutely no hope of obtaining a fair trial in this country, only the appearance of one due to our insane, right-wing, lynch mob mentality among the general public!!!

    August 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • Peppy

      Right wing lynch mob ??? What about Bamman, sharton and jj on Zimmerman, That's a lynch mob, idiot

      August 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Reply
      • ezdriver

        Those recessive genes getting outta control again?

        August 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm |

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