Official: Obama's trip to G20, not Russia

Aug. 31, 2013 at 12:49 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- President Obama plans to "cooperate pragmatically" with Russia during next week's Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, a senior administration official says.

But the official, in a conference call Friday with reporters, said the president's trip is to the G20, not to Russia. He said the United States and Russia continue to have strategic interests in common in spite of the recent frost between them.

Obama canceled a proposed summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin before the G20 after Russia granted temporary asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

"As the president said in his August 9th press conference, even as we paused on holding the bilateral summit with Russia, we're absolutely prepared to cooperate pragmatically," the official said.

The official said no bilateral meetings between the president and other leaders at the G20 have yet been scheduled.

Obama is now set to visit Sweden before the G20. The trip will include a meeting with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and a state dinner with the president of Finland and prime ministers of Denmark, Iceland and Norway on the guest list.

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