US President Obama cancels meeting with Putin over Snowden asylum

imgUS President Barack Obama has cancelled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia’s decision to grant asylum to intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the White House said.

But Mr Obama will still attend the G20 economic talks in St Petersburg. A White House aide said Mr Snowden’s asylum had deepened the pre-existing tension between the two counties. The former intelligence contractor has admitted leaking information about US surveillance programmes to the media. The decision to cancel the talks, announced during a trip by the president to Los Angeles, comes the morning after Mr Obama said he was “disappointed” with Russia’s decision to offer Mr Snowden asylum for a year.

“We have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a US-Russia Summit,” the White House said in a statement.

In addition to Russia’s “disappointing decision” to grant Mr Snowden temporary asylum, the White House cited a lack of progress on issues ranging from missile defence to human rights.

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