Posts Tagged ‘helene cooper’

May 2012

As Putin Postpones Meeting Obama, Analysts Seek Political Import

New York Times

The first meeting between President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin as the leaders of their respective countries was supposed to be an icebreaker, a moment for two outsize figures to put behind them some of the friction that surrounded the Russian elections two months ago.

But the announcement on Wednesday that Mr. Putin would skip the Group of 8 summit meeting of world leaders next week at Camp David – which Mr. Obama had promoted as an opportunity to “spend time” with Mr. Putin – bewildered foreign policy experts in both countries who have been waiting to see how the two leaders would get on.

During a telephone call on Thursday, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, assured Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the cancellation was “not political,” a State Department official said. Other administration officials said they accepted Mr. Putin’s stated reason for canceling his trip – he told Mr. Obama that he had to finish setting up his new cabinet.

In fact, during a meeting last Friday in Moscow with Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, which was supposed to set up the Camp David meeting, Mr. Putin had warned that he might have to send his prime minister (and the former president), Dmitri A. Medvedev, in his place, according to a senior administration official with knowledge of the meeting.

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