WASHINGTON (Reuters) - High-level talks between Russia and the United States scheduled for next week in Washington are “up in the air” and a September summit also is in doubt after Russia granted asylum to former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, U.S. officials said on Thursday.
“We see this as an unfortunate development and we are extremely disappointed by it,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Snowden, who had been working for the National Security Agency, is wanted in the United States for leaking details of government surveillance programs.
The United States is now “evaluating the utility” of an anticipated meeting between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September around the time of the G-20 international meeting, Carney said.
High-level talks scheduled for next week between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and their Russian counterparts also are now “up in the air,” a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Snowden slipped quietly out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Thursday after being granted a year’s asylum in Russia, ending more than five weeks in limbo in the transit area.
Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Bill Trott