Russia says US doubts over summit ‘distort reality’
Russia's deputy foreign minister on Tuesday slammed the United States for questioning whether President Barack Obama would meet his Russian counterpart in September after Moscow gave asylum to fugitive Edward Snowden.
“The US administration is bringing into question bilateral contact at the highest level. I think this is absolute distortion of reality, it’s looking at the world in a crooked mirror,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Interfax news agency.
White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday said that Washington was “continuing to evaluate the utility of a summit” after Russia last week gave asylum to Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of its surveillance programmes.
The former intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency is now living in a safe house in a secret location after last week walking out of the transit zone of a Moscow airport where he had spent more than a month.
Ryabkov said that for Russia it was “unclear why the United States is blowing up the situation with Snowden,” arguing that Russia had avoided any involvement in his case “beyond the absolutely humanitarian aspect.”
Russia is hoping for a decision that “will not damage relations”, Ryabkov said, after the White House said Monday that it would decide “in coming days” whether Obama will meet Putin in Moscow in early September.
So far Russia has not “received any signals that Washington has taken one decision or another over the Moscow summit,” Ryabkov said.
Obama had agreed to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow ahead of a September 5-6 summit of the Group of 20 major economic powers in Saint Petersburg.
The White House has not cast doubt on Obama’s participation at the G20.