President Obama spoke with third-term Russian President Vladimir Putin today, in which Putin told Obama he’ll be ditching the first big meeting thrown by the U.S. president since a new (old) Russian leader was elected.
In a readout of the phone call, the White House said the two “commemorated the occasion of Russia’s celebration of Victory in Europe day, noting the historic war-time alliance between our two countries and underscoring their mutual commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Russian partnership.”
The two “noted with satisfaction the concrete achievements of the last three years and expressed their commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation on the basis of mutual strategic interests.”
But then Putin — who spent two terms as president before playing prime minister puppetmaster to his hand-picked technocrat successor, Dmitry Medvedev, before winning back the presidency — claimed he’d be too busy with finalizing cabinet appointments to come to the G8 summit at Camp David May 18-19.
“President Obama expressed his understanding of President Putin’s decision and welcomed the participation of Russian Prime Minister Medvedev at the G8 Summit,” the White House said. “President Obama and President Putin agreed to hold a bilateral meeting on the margins of the June 18-19, G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.”
“The two Presidents reiterated their interest in the sustained high-level dialogue that has characterized the re-set of relations, and the substantial progress of the last three years on issues like nuclear security and non-proliferation, Afghanistan, the WTO, and increased trade and commercial ties,” the readout concluded.