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Transmission

Rumors Abound As Obama Skips Summit

U.S. President Barack Obama (left) and has not met Russian President Vladimir Putin since his inauguration.
U.S. President Barack Obama (left) and has not met Russian President Vladimir Putin since his inauguration.
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Eyebrows have been raised in both Washington and Moscow with the announcement that U.S. President Barack Obama will not attend this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in September.

The official reason for Obama's no-show is that the summit, which is to be held in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok on September 1-6, clashes with the Democratic Party's convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, at which he is to accept the party's presidential nomination.

Nonetheless, the timing of the announcement is bound to cause ripples given that it follows hot on the heels of newly inaugurated Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision not to attend a Group of Eight (G8) meeting in Camp David, Maryland, later this week.

Even though both the United States and Russia stressed that this pronouncement should not be interpreted as a snub, it did give rise to all sorts of speculation, especially as the White House had switched the G8 meeting from its longstanding Chicago venue to the U.S. president's Camp David retreat, seemingly to appear more welcoming to Putin and other leaders.

Despite strong denials from both camps, the White House's latest announcement is bound to spawn rumors and conjecture. Obama's relationship with the new Russian president has been under intense scrutiny, not least because of the latter's much publicized fierce opposition to a planned NATO missile-defense shield in Europe.

The first deputy chairman of Russia's State Duma Committee on International Affairs moved quickly to quash any speculation that either summit withdrawal could be attributed to a rift between the two leaders.

"I know that there are people in Russia and the United States who believe the American president is reacting to the Russian president's position," Andrei Klimov told Russia's state-owned RT news network.

"But I personally believe that the official explanations given by both parties are sufficient and there is no need to make any assumptions, fuelling additional scandals," he said.

Nonetheless, even though Klimov stressed that Russia understood and accepted Obama's reasons for not attending APEC, he did seem to suggest that the American leader could have gone to the Vladivostok meeting if he had really wanted to.

"I still believe that the U.S. president technically could have taken half a day to visit the neighboring country and participate in the APEC summit," he said.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was until last week president of Russia, will attend the G8 summit in Putin’s place.

Putin and Obama are still scheduled to finally meet on neutral ground at the sidelines of a G20 summit in Mexico in June.
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Comments
     
by: Jim from: DC
May 15, 2012 21:30
Wasn't there an occasion recently in which the US Prez. was overheard and recorded telling Dmitry that he would be able to discuss US - Russian relations and NATO defence with more authority after his own election is over? And Medvedev was heard to reply: " I'll tell Vladimir". Such intimacy makes me wonder about the significance of any public summit, let alone the G20 in Mexico in June. Can it all be just tea and truffles?

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
May 15, 2012 22:32
More proof that the Obama unfit to lead.
Sara Palin would go to summit. Because Sara Palin can see summit from her house.
Palin be gooder prezident then Obama.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
May 16, 2012 13:22
Thank you, KONSTANTIN from LA, for again using my name to publish your insightful comments on this forum :-).
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
May 16, 2012 19:25
Well well well,some people say Uncle Tom is black,but now we see that he`s just yellow,thats why he wont attend,the other possible reason being Mahshelle has given him a black eye,but here is the good news-its just been announced that Jack and Eugenio will attend to announce officially their ticket for the coming elections.The only thing unclear yet is which is the party they have chosen to run their ticket.But knowing uncle Tom`s stance on gay red marriages itwont be that hard to guess!!!
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
May 17, 2012 03:47
"Imitation is the highest form of flattery" (Brian Molko)

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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