By Jueseppi B.
2013 G-20 Saint Petersburg summit
This meeting will be the second time an Australian prime minister could not be in attendance, Kevin Rudd being represented by Foreign Minister Bob Carr, owing to the timing of a federal election on 7 September. In 2010, Rudd had been unable to attend when displaced as prime minister two days before the event in Toronto, Canada, at which Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan then represented Australia.
Finance policy meetings
Russia, as this year’s chair, hosted the G-20′s finance ministers and central bank governors’ meeting in Moscow on 15 and 16 February 2013. While preparing for the September summit, the most pressing subject addressed – “desperately” according to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty – was protectionist actions such as competitive devaluations. Japan, represented by finance minister Taro Aso, “escape[d] criticism” for the 20% drop in the yen that had stemmed from its recent reflationary policies. The “nations declared … there would be no currency war and deferred plans to set new debt-cutting targets, underlining broad concern about the fragile state of the world economy”, per Reuters.
Another meeting of the same participants was held in Moscow on 18 and 19 April 2013.
|2013 G-20 Russia summit|
|Follows||Mexico summit, 2012|
|Precedes||Australia summit, 2014|
Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel to Russia
Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia Summit in early September. We value the achievements made with Russia in the President’s first term, including the New START Treaty, and cooperation on Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea. However, given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last twelve months, we have informed the Russian Government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda.
Russia’s disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship. Our cooperation on these issues remains a priority for the United States, so on Friday, August 9, Secretaries Hagel and Kerry will meet with their Russian counterparts in a 2+2 format in Washington to discuss how we can best make progress moving forward on the full range of issues in our bilateral relationship.
The President still looks forward to traveling to St. Petersburg on September 5-6 to attend the G-20 Summit.
Presidents Stockholm, Sweden Schedule – September 2nd – 5th , 2013
Tuesday 8:30 PM: President Obama departs the White House en route Stockholm, Sweden.
Wednesday: The President arrives in Stockholm. While there, he will hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Reinfeldt. He will then participate in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm and tour an expo featuring clean energy innovations at the Royal Institute of Technology. In the evening, he will take part in a dinner with Nordic Leaders.
Presidents 2013 G-20 Summit Schedule – September 5th – 6th , 2013
Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the King and Queen of Sweden. He will then depart Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia where he will attend the G-20 Summit.
Friday: Attends the G-20 Summit. Returns to Washington, DC on Friday evening.
From The USA TODAY:
WASHINGTON — With the U.S.-Russia relationship already strained, President Obama’s decision to delay a possible military strike against Syria adds an unexpected twist to what was already shaping up to be an awkward G-20 summit hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in St. Petersburg.
President Obama leaves Tuesday for Sweden, a stop added to his itinerary after he canceled a one-on-one meeting with Putin in Moscow ahead of the G-20, which begins Thursday.
The U.S. and Russia have long been at odds over the conflict in Syria as Russia, the only major patron of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has blocked any possibility of the United Nations Security Council mandating action against him in the 2½-year-old civil war.
Russia’s blocking of the United Nations on Syria, along with the decision to grant former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden temporary asylum and a lack of recent progress between the two countries on other issues, led Obama last month to cancel the long-anticipated Moscow visit.
President Obama announced over the weekend that he wants to take military action against the Assad regime in response to an alleged chemical attack Aug. 21, but first he wants congressional authorization. The G-20 meeting will offer him what is likely his last chance to muster international support from leaders of member countries for a potential strike, and the four-day overseas trip will come after a several-days-long blitz by President Obama to persuade skeptical lawmakers at home to give him congressional authority to carry out a strike against Syria.
He called several lawmakers, who are away from Washington for their summer recess, over the weekend to make his case. And President Obama met with Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at the White House on Monday. He’s also scheduled to meet with the 12 top-ranking lawmakers representing congressional national security committees on Tuesday.
Secretary of State John Kerry and others on Obama’s national security team will continue the White House’s lobbying efforts while the president is away. Canceling his trip to Sweden and St. Petersburg was not considered, according to a White House official who was not authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Officially, the G-20 summit’s focus is geared toward talks on a slew of global economic issues important to member countries. But President Obama is likely to use sideline meetings with leaders to try to build a broader political coalition of countries willing to support U.S. military action in Syria, even if they aren’t contributing militarily.
The White House says there are no plans for a one-on-one meeting between President Obama and Putin on the sidelines of the summit, but the two will inevitably have some interaction during the course of the meetings.
In the days since President Obama announced his desire to take military action against Syria, the chasm between the United States and Russia — at least rhetorically — has widened.
Over the weekend, the Obama administration and Putin traded barbs after President Obama declared he wants to carry out a military strike.
Putin called it “nonsense” that Assad would authorize a chemical attack and urged Obama to consider whether a strike would have any impact to end the internecine violence or be worth the civilian casualties an American strike potentially could cost.
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed frustration that the Russians have turned a blind eye to evidence the United States has provided to demonstrate that the Syrian regime was responsible for chemical attacks against Syrian opposition this year, first confirmed by the U.S. intelligence community in June.
“They chose – I literally mean chose – not to believe it or to at least acknowledge publicly. I think this evidence is going to be overwhelming,” Kerry said in an interview on ABC’s This Week. “If the president of Russia chooses yet again to ignore it, that’s his choice.”
For the past two years, the Obama-Putin relationship has been “like watching a slow-moving train wreck,” says Andrew Kuchins, a Russia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
The two leaders held glum expressions when they appeared for the cameras after their last meeting, the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland in June.
Last month, President Obama described Putin as looking like the “bored kid in the back of the classroom” while acknowledging that the two have differences of opinion on some matters “and we’re not going to be able to completely disguise them.”
In perhaps President Obama’s most stinging rebuke, which came in a recent interview with The Tonight Show‘s Jay Leno, President Obama lamented that Putin had a “Cold War mentality.”
“One thing is clear to me, that this is the worst personal relationship between U.S. and Russian — perhaps even U.S. and Soviet — leaders in history,” Kuchins said.
Despite the differences, Kerry said that the administration is looking at ways to internationalize efforts to secure Syria’s chemical weapons cache and that he hopes Russia could play a role in that effort.
Though the relationship is undergoing particular strain because of differences on the Syria crisis and Russia granting asylum to Snowden, the White House notes that cooperation with Russia has not halted.
In recent weeks, Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel held meetings in Washington with their Russian counterparts, and the two countries have held high-level meetings on the sticky issue of missile defense.
By delaying any military action until he has congressional approval, President Obama has avoided having to defend the aftermath of a strike in a summit setting, notes Angela Stent, a Russia analyst at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
“Syria might still come up, but it won’t dominate the G-20 agenda as it might have had there been a military strike,” Stent said.
Thank you Aamer Madhani & USA TODAY.
Putin to (Nobel Prize winner) Obama: ‘Think about future Syria victims’ (FULL VIDEO)
Published on Aug 31, 2013
The Russian president has expressed certainty that the strategy for a military intervention in Syria is a contingency measure from outside and a direct response to the Syrian government’s recent combat successes, coupled with the rebels’ retreat from long-held positions.
President Obama Speaks on Syria
August 31, 2013 | 10:03 |Public Domain
President Obama speaks on the situation in Syria from the White House Rose Garden.
President Obama Makes a Statement on Syria
August 30, 2013 | 3:41 | Public Domain
Following a meeting with Baltic leaders at the White House, President Obama makes a statement about the situation in Syria.
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