MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is disappointing, but he is still welcome in Russia, a top Kremlin foreign policy aide said on Wednesday.
“We are disappointed by the U.S. administration’s decision to cancel the visit of President Obama to Moscow planned in early September,” Putin’s foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters.
“It is clear that the decision is due to the situation around the former U.S. special services employee Snowden, which we did not create,” he added.
Obama would still come to Russia in September for a G20 summit in St Petersburg but will not attend a separate meeting with Putin was supposed to take place in Moscow ahead of that.
Russia granted temporary asylum to Edward Snowden last week, rejecting U.S. pleas to expel him and letting the former spy agency contractor slip out of a Moscow airport after more than five weeks in limbo there.
Ushakov said the rift over Snowden between the Cold War-era foes showed Washington was not treating Russia as an equal partner and reiterated Moscow’s stance that it could not hand the 30-year-old over because Russia and the United States had no bilateral extradition agreement.
“Throughout the years the Americans avoided signing an extradition agreement (with Russia) and constantly refused our requests to extradite individuals who committed crimes in Russia, referring to the lack of such agreement,” he said.
He added that Russia’s invitation for Obama to visit Russia was still in force.
Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Michael Roddy