Obama favours reassessment of ties with Russia

Posted By: IANS
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Washington, Aug 10: US President Barack Obama Friday argued for a reassessment and calibration of the relationship with Russia after cancelling a summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Addressing a press conference at the White House, Obama described his dealings with Russia since taking over the presidential office in January 2009 as "mixed success" .

"It is probably appropriate for us to take a pause, reassess where it is that Russia's going, what our core interests are, and calibrate the relationship so that we're doing things that are good for the United States and hopefully good for Russia as well," reported Xinhua citing Obama.

US-Russian relations turned sour after Putin, who was prime minister when Medvedev was president, returned to the presidency in May 2012.

"I think we saw more rhetoric on the Russian side that was anti- American, that played into some of the old stereotypes about the Cold War contest between the United States and Russia," Obama said about ties with Russia under Putin.

"And I've encouraged Mr. Putin to think forward as opposed to backwards on those issues with mixed success," he said.

On Wednesday, the White House announced cancellation of a Obama-Putin summit, originally slated for early September.

Spokesperson Jay Carney cited disagreements over missile defense, arms control, trade and commerce, security, human rights as well as the fate of Edward Snowden, the American intelligence leaker granted temporary asylum in Russia Aug 1.

"Our decision to not participate in the summit was not simply around Mr. Snowden," Obama said. "It had to do with the fact that, frankly, on a whole range of issues where we think we can make some progress, Russia has not moved."

Obama said he hoped "that over time Mr. Putin and Russia recognise that rather than a zero sum competition, in fact, if the two countries are working together, we can probably advance the betterment of both peoples".

On his personal relationship with Putin, Obama said it was not a "bad" one, noting his conversations with the Russian leader were "candid," "blunt" and oftentimes "constructive."

Obama reiterated that he will attend the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sep 5-6 as planned. "That's important business in terms of our economy and our jobs and all the issues that are of concern to Americans," he said.

He also made it clear that Washington will not boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Russia's Sochi city.

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