US President Barack Obama has confirmed his intention to attend the Group of Twenty summit in Russia’s St. Petersburg in September, but reproached Russia for its “Cold War mentality.”
Speaking on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” hosted by Jay Leno, Obama, however, praised Moscow for being cooperative on some matters.
“There are times when they [the Russian government] slip back into Cold War thinking and Cold War mentality. What I continually say to them and to President [Vladimir] Putin, that’s the past,” the US president told the host.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to cooperate more effectively than we do,” he said.
Obama said he was “disappointed” with Russia’s decision to grant temporary asylum to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden but that he would still attend the G20 summit.
The US leader did not say if he would attend a separate meeting with Putin, due in the Russian capital, which was called into question by Washington after Russia granted temporary asylum to Snowden.
The meeting in Moscow is scheduled to take place early next month, ahead of the G20 summit of top world leaders that begins September 5 in St. Petersburg.
Snowden, the US former intelligence contractor who had been holed up in a Moscow airport for more than a month, was recently granted temporary asylum and finally left the airport August 1, according to a Russian lawyer who has been helping the US fugitive.
Snowden is wanted in the United States on espionage and theft charges after leaking classified information about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. He applied for temporary asylum in Russia on July 16. Washington has repeatedly called on Moscow to reject Snowden’s request and send him back to the United States to stand trial.