US, Russia need more time to finalize adoption deal
US and Russian officials who had hoped to finalize a deal this week on new rules for adoption will need another meeting to complete the details, the State Department said Friday.
Russia imposed a de facto ban on US adoptions of Russian orphans and the two countries began working on a legal framework after a US woman sparked outrage in April by putting her adopted son on a plane alone back to Russia.
"It does not appear as though we will actually finalize the text today," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters as the two sides wrapped up three days of talks on a deal.
"On the one hand, the lead negotiator on the Russian side was ill and actually did not make the trip," Crowley said.
"On the other hand, I think the formal translation and finalization is just taking slightly longer than had been anticipated."
"So we will probably need to have another meeting. I wouldn't say that there are any show stoppers. It's just a matter of working through the mechanics of finalizing an agreement," he said.
He said a new meeting had yet to be scheduled.
Crowley said earlier this week that he expected both sides to finalize the agreement and have it ready for signing at some later date.
US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev threw their weight behind the process to provide legally binding rules for adoptions when they met in Moscow in June.
The two sides have met four times, in both Washington and Moscow, "to negotiate this agreement that provides greater safeguards for children and families in the adoption process between the two countries," Crowley said.
Russia demanded a bilateral accord to protect children after Torry Hansen, a 32-year-old nurse from Tennessee, put her seven-year-old adopted son on a flight to Russia with a note saying she could no longer care for him.
Hansen, who had adopted Artyom Savelyev just seven months earlier, said the boy was "violent" and had threatened to burn down the family home.
More than 1,770 orphans were adopted by American families in 2008 from Russia, where the number of orphans is around five times higher than in the United States, according to official statistics.
© 2010 AFP