Putin, Obama to Talk Missile Defense, Syria Settlement in Mexico

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama will on June 18 discuss projected deployment of missile shield in Europe, prospects of peace settlement in Syria and bilateral ties at the sidelines of G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said.

The G20 summit will be held on June 18-19. Obama and Putin will meet ahead of it. Following the negotiations, the presidents will issue a joint statement, which will enshrine the partners’ will to develop diplomatic ties and expand trade contacts.

“The missile defense issue will be discussed; the U.S. has already warned us about this. This is quite normal, as the issue is sensitive,” he said.

“But it should be taken into account that Americans are now in the midst of a presidential campaign; important, crucial decisions are rarely taken in such circumstances. But I believe the discussion itself will be useful for the both parties,” Ushakov said.

Peace settlement in conflict-torn Syria will also be negotiated, he continued. The aide emphasized that Russia and the United States do not have strong disagreements on this issue. “We want that peace finally comes to Syria and its residents get the possibility to democratically choose their future.”

“Russia is consistently pushing for all-inclusive dialogue in Syria…Forceful meddling into this process from the outside is unacceptable,” he added.

The meeting is expected to last about 1.5 hours. Ushakov said that some foreign forces are trying to prejudice the political background of the meeting.

Russia dismissed on Wednesday claims by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that it was selling attack helicopters to Syria and accused the United States of arming rebels fighting against the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We are completing right now the implementation of contracts that were signed and paid for a long time ago,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks in the Iranian capital of Tehran. “All these contracts concern exclusively anti-aircraft defense.”

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will vote on its version the so-called Magnitsky List bill on June 19, according to the hearings schedule published on its website.

The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, with amendments, seeks to impose visa bans and asset freezes on the Russian officials involved in the alleged torture and murder of 37-year-old Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky as well as in other gross human rights abuses in Russia.

The projected Magnitsky bill is an ostentatious anti-Russian move and if it is passed Russia will introduce retaliatory measures, Ushakov said.

“Many countries… deny entry to undesirable persons. This is done not publicly and is a common diplomatic practice. But now the issue is about an ostentatious anti-Russian move, they [the congress] are trying to assign an expanded value to the bill, first of all, to use this law when the U.S. is dissatisfied with Russia,” Ushakov said.

“Everybody understands that it [the Magnitsky blacklist] is a negative element in the bilateral ties. Everybody understands that retaliatory Russian measures would be inevitable, but we would like to avoid them,” he added.

Source: RIA Novosti

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