WASHINGTON/MOSCOW, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday argued for a reassessment and calibration of the relationship with Russia in light of its chilly status, shortly after he decided to cancel a planned summit meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
However, this does not mean a full stop of any contact and cooperation between the two countries, as a "2+2" meeting held as scheduled and other U.S. moderate moves signaled some agreements on several matters between them.
"It is probably appropriate for us to take a pause, reassess where it is that Russia's going, what our core interests are, and calibrate the relationship so that we're doing things that are good for the United States and hopefully good for Russia as well," Obama said Friday at a press conference at the White House.
"There's always been some tension in the U.S.-Russian relationship after the fall of the Soviet Union," he said. "There's been cooperation in some areas. There's been competition in others."
He mentioned "a lot of progress" made in his "reset" in ties with Russia under former President Dmitry Medvedev, while complained that relations turned sour after Putin returned to the presidency in May 2012.
"I think we saw more rhetoric on the Russian side that was anti- American, that played into some of the old stereotypes about the Cold War contest between the United States and Russia," Obama spoke of ties with Russia under Putin.
Also on Friday, a so-called "2+2" meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of the United States and Russia opened in the light of chilly status, and it was widely seen as a sign of both Washington and Moscow's intention to promote bilateral ties in the days ahead.
In their four-hour talks, the ministers focused on strategic stability, missile defense, political-military cooperation and regional security that included Syria, Afghanistan and nuclear issues relating to Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
They reached consensus on Syria by agreeing to hold a Geneva II conference as early as possible, both stressing the belief that a political settlement is the only way to prevent sort of institutional collapse and further instability in Syria.
"The relationship between the United States and Russia is, needless to say, a very important relationship, and it is marked by both shared interests and at times colliding and conflicting interests," Kerry said.
On Wednesday, the White House announced the cancellation of a Obama-Putin summit, originally slated for early September when Obama goes to Russia for the G20 summit, on the grounds that no "enough recent progress" had been made in bilateral agenda.
Spokesman Jay Carney cited disagreements over missile defense, arms control, trade and commerce, security, human rights as well as the fate of Edward Snowden, the American intelligence leaker granted temporary asylum in Russia on Aug. 1.
On the Russian side, a Kremlin aide said Friday that the Kremlin was not surprised by the White House decision to drop a one-on-one summit originally scheduled, and that it was ready both for the visit and for its delay.
Yury Ushakov noted that Russia was still ready to cooperate with the United States over all bilateral and international issues, as "the issues on the bilateral agenda are important in any circumstances."
Obama reiterated that he will attend the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5-6 as planned. "That's important business in terms of our economy and our jobs and all the issues that are of concern to Americans," he said.
He also made it clear that Washington will not boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Russia's Sochi. "I want to just make very clear right now, I do not think it's appropriate to boycott the Olympics," he said. "We've got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed."
Obviously, Obama is unwilling to close the door for dialogue and cooperation with Russia at this moment.
BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- For more on the US President’s news conference, let’s cross live to our correspondent Nathan King from Washington.
Q1: Obama has announced plans to strengthen oversight and transparency of the National Security Agency’s classified surveillance programs. Will this help people regain confidence in the government and what are the most concerns for ordinary people? Full story
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama has cancelled his planned meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next month, with the White House citing lack of progress in bilateral relations.
"Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia summit in early September," the White House said in a statement Wednesday. Full story