MOSCOW, October 4 (RIA Novosti) - The Kremlin voiced disappointment Friday over the second cancellation in a month of a meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States as ties remain strained over disagreements on Syria and Moscow’s unwillingness to extradite US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had been due to meet his US counterpart, Barack Obama, at this weekend’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Bali, Indonesia, but talks will have to be scrapped as the White House battles with the fallout of the federal government shutdown.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was regrettable “the meeting will not happen as bilateral relations are in severe need of continued dialogue.”
“But we understand this situation, which has developed in the United States,” Peskov said. “We hope that the situation will be settled.”
Obama had been scheduled to leave for Bali on Saturday and then travel onward to the East Asia Summit in Brunei.
The US delegation at the upcoming summits will be led by Secretary of State John Kerry. Peskov said Kerry would definitely meet for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Obama cancelled a planned one-on-one with Putin at September's G20 Summit in St. Petersburg after Russia granted US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden asylum in August. This came at a time when Russia-US relations were strained over a number of issues, including potential US intervention in the Syrian civil war.
Obama has had to remain in Washington after the US Congress proved unable to agree on a spending bill needed to keep the government running in the new budget year, which began October 1.
Republicans want the spending bill tied to their efforts to block the rollout of the new health care law, a key aspect of which also went into effect on Tuesday. Obama has resisted negotiating delays to the health care law.