US President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013© RIA Novosti. Alexei Nikolsky
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WASHINGTON, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - A bilateral meeting between presidents of Russia and the United States is not on the agenda of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg due in early September, a senior US administration official said on Friday.
“At this time there is no bilateral meeting or pull-aside expected between the presidents, although…the [US] president and President Putin are going to have many opportunities to engage during the course of the G20 session” the official said.
Barack Obama cancelled his scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, planned for early September, after Russia gave temporary asylum to US intelligence leaker Edward Showden. Relations between Moscow and Washington were further strained by differences over last week’s reported chemical weapons attack in Syria.
The Syrian issue will undoubtedly be raised by the G20 leaders during the summit, the White House official said.
“There’s, at this point, no formal session or event that would involve Syria, but we know that leaders will be talking about it,” he said.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.