Russian Officials Join Kerry at White House

Secretary of State John Kerry meets foreign officials from Russia amid new tensions with U.S.
3:00 | 08/09/13

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Transcript for Russian Officials Join Kerry at White House
This is a special report from ABC news. I'm -- cuts or New York with -- ABC news digital special report two key Russian diplomats are in Washington today meeting with secretary of state John Kerry and secretary of defense Chuck Hagel. There are several. Awkward issues on the -- strained relations between two superpowers. And ABC's Karen Travers is watching it all -- joins us now from our Washington. -- Karen good afternoon. Good afternoon -- -- -- certainly very closely watching to see if there any of those awkward moments they presses -- -- for a little bit at the top of the meeting and then John Kerry said we're gonna have to let you go in order to get a little bit more candid but -- is no secret that there's a whole range of issues that have really strain the relationship between the US and Russia recently and both have been very candid about. And of course looming large over all of that Edwards -- asylum. Tensions between the US and Russia have been increasing and today in Washington secretary of state John Kerry was blunt it's no secret. That we have experienced. Some challenging moments. That obviously not not just over the -- case. Kerry and secretary of defense -- Kapler meeting with a Russian counterparts a high level sit down for sure but that be as high as it goes. Earlier this week the White House announced that President Obama will not meet one on one with Russian president Vladimir Putin when he travels to an international summit -- next month. Those issues include Syria Russia's human rights record and missile defense all areas with the US and Russian. I've been dots we had not seen that progress sufficiently. On a range of issues to -- some. But of course there's that other issue looming large Russia's decision to grant an -- -- Edwards noting temporary asylum. Obviously mr. Snowden was a factor but he was far from the only factor. The White House has not -- its frustrations. The Snowden issue made the that this going to the summit much what much more difficult. Russia is also under increasing global pressure for its new anti gay law and how it will be applied to athletes at next year's -- Olympics there. -- -- that is heavy here. He sent us what the human rights and it should be available to all regardless of race sex -- sexual orientation. The Obama administration says it opposes Russia's anti gay law that -- and for now they say there is no talk of an Olympic boycott. I took kerosene for the fact that it's the White House has canceled that one on one meeting with -- president Vladimir prudent all ahead of the G-20 summit later on in this -- Do we expect -- any major announcements coming from today's meeting. Nothing of substance on any these issues it of course have been so contentious because the US and Russia really are very far apart. On things like missile defense and Syria and -- -- expect that the US will press a -- on that humans rights and human rights record but. In a daylong meeting are not sure how much can actually be accomplished but this is really symbolic and the State Department was emphasizing that this week that while the agenda has not progressed enough that warranted a presidential meeting. This point this is the best way to do -- to do it on the secretary of state and secretary of defense level begins speaking kind of get into the nuts and -- that you don't -- have the presidents get into -- of course this meeting is expected to last all -- they're different sessions are gonna take place over couple hours President Obama and President -- don't have time -- that those meetings if they last an hour and a half that's considered very -- -- they certainly can't spend eight hours going over all these things so he get into -- at this level President -- and President Obama will see each other next month in Russia that we'll have that side by side one on one meeting. But they will be there and perhaps it's that point over the next couple weeks there can be some progress on these contentious issues. So as we're watching this morning as secretary. I Kerry had opened up this morning's news conference as you pointed out -- -- generally asking the press to leave so they can get down to business. It was interesting to see back and forth because Senator Kerry started and then it went to Russia's foreign minister and then it went to senator excuse me two secretary -- and then over to the defense minister of Russia. Has got to this ping pong back and forth and even with the translation obviously. Is the message the tone whether any differences between the two sides that they really aren't here don't. Danny was very different secretary Kerry came out -- out of the gate and said look we know that we've had challenges we know that we had some issues that are very contentious between this. Secretary Kerry is a big ice hockey player I don't know if he knew that but he is a very. Very formidable opponent on the ice rink and he's actually been counted get beat up -- -- he's at some black eyes and broken noses I believe and today he said that. Diplomacy is sometimes like ice hockey that in the course of doing it sometimes you resulting collisions and that's how he was describing the set up for this meeting today that's not really a you know good home and I guess and of course the Russians certainly understand ice hockey and -- know what that means and then when it turned to his counterparts. -- from the Russian side. They said things -- pretty good we've made some progress for hoping to have some agreements in place. And they weren't emphasizing the positives and the cooperation talking about the meeting that President Putin and President Obama. Had -- Ireland earlier this summer where they seemed to be getting along pretty well shaking hands and smiling. So very different expectations game being set this morning of the State Department secretary carry certainly laying out -- this is going to be pretty tough and the Russian saying. We do get along more than we think -- time focus on that. Looking at sports is the comment as a common goal or that he gets it right ping pong diplomacy with Nixon in China then you've got basketball diplomacy if you want to bring in. If you -- bring in -- Dennis Rodman and North Korea and now apparently hockey. It seems a lot more dangerous ice hockey -- certainly I've been quite quite possibly -- -- was these meetings are complete what's next. -- -- -- of course is that G-20 summit in Saint Petersburg in September. President will still go to that -- be a meeting of world leaders and we will keep every -- whether or not he has any moments with president -- -- you know when they all get into that room that's what everybody's going to be looking for whether or not. They have any exchanges whether or not they're sitting near each other but they will not have that meeting in Moscow a couple days later. President Obama will leave Russia and head to Sweden which the White House was very eager to point out a press release they're very good friend and close ally -- Have a contrast to the -- Yes I did the diplomatic dance no short of any kind of literary. Connections there ABC's Karen Travers in Washington Karen thank you for that we appreciate it. Of course have a complete write up an abcnews.com. As those Russian diplomats are meeting with secretary Kerry and secretary -- today. For now I'm Dan -- learn New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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