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No plans for Obama visit Russia before G20 summit: Russia

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Fri, Feb 01, 2013 20:16 hrs

Moscow: US President Barack Obama is unlikely to visit Russia until September, when he is due to attend the G20 leaders' summit in St. Petersburg, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

"A separate visit (by Obama) is not on the agenda now. The US president has a standing invitation, though no date has been fixed," Peskov said.

Kommersant business daily reported Friday that Obama has no plans to pay a separate visit to Russia in summer as previously expected because the sides have reached no breakthrough in the sphere of arms reduction.

Meanwhile, diplomats hope that Russia and the US will be able to break the deadlock during the upcoming talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Vice President Joe Biden in Munich Saturday, Kommersant reported.

US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is also expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in February to negotiate a nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Russia maintains that there are no plans for the reduction of its nuclear weapons arsenal until the missile defence problem is settled.

But Obama's visit is becoming increasingly unlikely as relations between the two countries have been recently strained by a series of diplomatic tit-for-tat moves.

Late last year, Washington introduced the Magnitsky Act, a law imposing sanctions against Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses. The law was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a whistleblowing lawyer who died in a Moscow jail in 2009.

Russia responded by banning US citizens from adopting Russian children and prohibiting politically active Russian NGOs from accepting financing from the US.

In December, Yury Ushakov, a foreign policy adviser to President Vladimir Putin, said Obama could visit Russia in the first half of 2013.

Obama's planned visit will be his first trip to Russia since he secured a second term in November.

The US leader promised to show more "flexibility" in a dispute over US missile defence plans in Europe after his re-election.

Russia insists that the US set out its assurances that the missile shield will not be directed against it in legally binding documents, something Washington has refused to agree to.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told CNN that there is no "flexibility" in the dispute over US missile defence plans, warning that a new arms race could emerge if talks fail.

"There is no flexibility. We have not changed our previous positions - the US has one opinion and the Russian Federation, unfortunately, has a different opinion. And these positions are not getting any closer," Medvedev said. 



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