Obama and Putin eyeing bilateral summit in Sochi
MOSCOW — U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are planning to hold bilateral talks during the G8 summit in June in Russia, the outgoing US Ambassador said in an interview published Wednesday.
"We are working very hard to make the agenda rich enough to justify a summit with an eye toward the G8 summit in Sochi in the summer," US Ambassador Michael McFaul told the Interfax news agency.
Obama had cancelled a planned summit with Putin prior to the G20 summit in September in St Petersburg. The decision came amid rapidly deteriorating relations in the wake of Russia's decision to offer asylum to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
Russia currently holds the rotating G8 presidency.
McFaul said he believes that there are new lines of cooperation between Moscow and Washington. He mentioned Iran and Syria, particularly the removal and destruction of chemical weapons.
The ambassador added that both countries were trying to improve economic ties. "We are also in close consultation and (in) much more serious negotiations with the Russian government to develop a much more robust economic agenda," he said.
McFaul announced Tuesday that he was stepping down as ambassador after just two years for family reasons. No successor has yet been named.