Talks this week will decide status of U.S.-Russia summit, Russia says

Aug. 6, 2013 at 3:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The fate of a scheduled summit meeting will be determined later this week during talks in Washington, Russian officials said.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet with their Russian counterparts, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, to discuss the summit meeting planned for September. Russian officials said preparations for the talks, which they say will take place Friday, are now complete.

Obama Administration officials declined comment on the talks, The New York Times reported.

"We expect a very intensive discussion, all the more so because there are quite a few sharp, controversial and difficulty questions," said Sergei Ryabkov, Russian deputy foreign minister.

The primary topic will be the status of the summit talks, the newspaper said. It noted American officials have signaled Russia's granting of temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, instead of turning him over to American authorities to face charges of leaking national secrets, could jeopardize the summit between Obama and Putin.

Obama is scheduled to attend a Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5-6, then travel to Moscow to meet with Putin.

"We obviously disagree with the Russians very strongly about the decision they made on Mr. Snowden," said Jay Carney, White House press secretary, who added the administration also had disagreements with Russia on "a number of other issues, including Syria."

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