Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:48PM
US President Barack Obama (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
US President Barack Obama has made a U-turn on its earlier plan for participating in the upcoming summit in Russia in order to press Moscow to extradite American whistleblower Edward Snowden.
When asked about the trip during a press conference on Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney did not speak about the matter.
“I have no further announcements on our travel to Russia. The president intends to go to Russia in September,” he said.
On June 17, the White House announced that Obama would attend the G20 summit in Russia in September.
The policy change came after the Kremlin refused to send back Snowden, who fled to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23, to the United States.
The Obama administration has repeatedly warned Russia about consequences of Snowden’s case.
“The Russian government has an opportunity here to work with us,” Carney said on Tuesday. “This should not be something that causes long-term problems for US-Russian relations.”
Moscow could “resolve this situation that they have been dealing with now for three weeks” by turning over Snowden or at least expelling him, he said.
President Obama even called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to convince him to extradite the National Security Agency leaker.
On Monday, Putin said the United States has trapped Snowden in Moscow by frightening other countries that might have accepted his asylum request.
“They themselves scared off all the other countries, no one wants to take him, and therefore they essentially themselves trapped him on our territory,” he said.
“As soon as there is an opportunity for him to move elsewhere, I hope he will do that. He is familiar with the conditions of granting political asylum, and judging by the latest statements, is shifting his position. The situation is not clear now,” he added.
Snowden, stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s main international airport, has applied for temporary asylum in Russia.
He has been charged with espionage in the United States for disclosing the government’s secret spying programs.