No Obama-Putin bilat at G20: official
Updated: 2013-08-31 12:43
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama will not have a one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Leaders' Summit of the Group of Twenty (G20) slated for September 5-6 in St. Petersburg, Russia, a senior US official said Friday.
"At this time there is no bilateral meeting or pull-aside expected between the presidents," the official told reporters in a phone briefing about Obama's upcoming trip to Sweden and Russia.
"This is less a visit to Russia than a trip to the G20, which happens to be hosted by Russia," he added.
Obama canceled a planned summit with Putin earlier this month, as relations between the two countries had turned sour over the past year, in particular over Syria, missile defense, human rights and Russia's granting of asylum to Edward Snowden, the fugitive former US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program leaker.
Obama is weighing military action against the Syrian government over its alleged use of sarin gas in an August 21 attack on the opposition forces in the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital, while the Russian government has opposed any military intervention in Syria's conflict, which has dragged on for more than two years and led to killings of as many as 100,000 people.