Digital Report: President Obama Cancels Trip to Moscow

ABC News' Kirit Radia and Jon Karl discuss circumstances surrounding U.S. president's decision.
10:10 | 08/07/13

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Transcript for Digital Report: President Obama Cancels Trip to Moscow
This is a special report from ABC news. I'm dance company or -- ABC news digital special report about face. After staying silent for the most part on the situation with an -- leaker Edwards Snowden getting asylum in Russia. President Obama taking a stand today canceling his trip to Moscow next month. This statement just released from the White House reading in -- following a careful review begun in July. We have reached a conclusion that there is not enough recent progress our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold -- US Russia summit. In early September. Bring an ABC -- -- idea who is in Moscow via Skype here thanks for joining us the president canceling his trip the big question is. Why now why this announcement this morning. What this comes just about a week after Russia granted Edwards asylum allowing him to stay in Russia for up to a year. As to why this wasn't done earlier. Court this is a big deal this is a summit meeting between. President Obama and his Russian counterpart President -- There were a number of other issues -- they're -- -- disgusting and things like Syria and missile defense to talk about so this is not through the White House took lightly. And secure the question is then that. The the factors that drove the president to make this decision went beyond Edwards Snowden and his asylum correct. That's right it was it was just one of the factors of course it was that perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back but. But the White House is saying that that they did not see enough progress on -- the big issues in order -- there to be consolidated there was nothing to talk about the two countries remain why don't. Very far apart on -- like Syria the Russians -- -- US plans for missile defense is no progress on that front that's that the White House is that it even without this stuff there really wasn't much -- -- to talk about. There's also been a lot of talk about the Olympics a lot of attention being placed on -- fact that Russia has an aunt -- policy in place. The International Olympic Committee has been weighing in on that the same time though the White House been relatively quiet about that was that a factor as well or just -- another another contributing. There have been some concerns with that -- you -- administration about. Human rights in Russia and US officials told that that did play a factor whether the anti gay law Clinton factor I don't know for sure the White House hasn't said that but there were other concerns -- recently the Russia Russian court convicted an opposition leader of charges that he insists are politically motivated. And the White House is of course and very cognizant. That now the president on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno said that he was disappointed that at times Russia slipped back. To a Cold War mentality does Russian view the US in the same light. Well I can tell you that. US officials have made the point that of -- better than the United States compartmentalizing. Their relationships so for example they don't see. That the -- situation should be impediment on anything else they want to talk about. The US of course is -- more holistic approach where they want to evaluate the utility talking to Russia based on the totality of the things they have to talk about. Well let me ask you this and they're focusing on an Edwards -- do we have any idea his condition what he's been doing that since he's been granted asylum. -- he left the airport last Thursday after being in there for about 39 days. He's somewhere in Russia that's all his lawyer will tell us -- tell us exactly where he is for security reasons apparently but he's believed to be somewhere in the Moscow area. Court -- where he's in good health in good spirits enjoying the fact that he can actually move around. For the first time in about a month and a but we don't exactly know where he is at this point we do know that his family is hoping to come visit him here -- just admitted of these applications. And who -- he's also received one job application actually from -- the founder of does version of FaceBook. That -- thinks that this -- build -- their users protect their privacy. All right ABC's -- Roddy in Moscow via Skype here thank you for that. I want to go -- to the White House now where -- -- White House correspondent Jonathan Karl is standing by outside. Jonathan the president has canceled his trip to Moscow is he still planning to attend -- G-20 summits. Absolutely so he will be going to Russia going to Saint Petersburg for the G-20 summit. But that the one on one meeting with -- that was scheduled in Moscow before the G-20 that has been canceled and Dan. One thing that's interesting is that in canceling it. The -- -- White House has made a point of giving several reasons if you read the statement. For the excuse me. It cites lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control. Trade and commercial relations global security human rights and only later says did this -- the asylum. It was also a factor. All right -- -- -- previous second to to catch your breath there and I up iPod is for that -- From the fact matters -- that there is a list of of concerns that have been put out there is there any kind of reading that we can make from the timing of that from the White House making this announcement this morning. -- I don't see any special significance this morning this was something had been reviewed. To -- they've taken some time to review. Form. Make -- decision excuse me I. Having our time talking. Now apps are there are absolutely take take take a moment it's if you -- if you if you see that that's what it if you are just joining us we just of course are here and that the White House has canceled plans for one on meeting a one on one meeting with the President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin and Jonathan Karl -- -- outside the White House now. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- All so I wouldn't put any special significance into the timing this morning there is a planned meeting on Friday. So called two plus two meeting. We're secretaries hagel and and Kerry are meeting with -- Russian counterparts they clearly wanted to get this decision. Out of the way before that meeting that meeting is going forward. So it's not like this is an effort to cut off relations with Russia it's just an effort to send a very clear signal that the US is on happy. With the decision to grant Edward -- asylum all the last night imagine. It's interesting to note that this statement mentioned several other areas of frustration that the United States has with Russia -- -- one of the biggest -- not specifically mentioned here. But would -- -- a global security. Is that the Russians have continued to send arms. Two two Syrian president Bob Charles -- Even as the situation in that country -- deteriorated they've done everything they can see any major weapons systems to to a -- obviously the tone. Of the meeting is scheduled between secretary -- -- and secretary hagel and Russian counterparts. Is going to change but what about the agenda now the White House has sort of put out this list of reasons is that gonna dictate. What everyone's going to be talking about at this meeting. Well in the factors that list is so expansive covering everything from trade. To security to human rights it will certainly -- color that meeting and it's hard to see where there have been areas of progress. When they list. All of this that they are frustrated too there's insufficient progress to have a meeting with the president so. Clearly the relationship with Russia. -- something of a downward trajectory -- I should point out that. As the White House was expressing its deep concern. Over the -- situation and asking. Moscow to turn him over to the United States. That the language was really quite restrained this was something -- was -- -- law enforcement law enforcement. Tactic was the FBI director then I'll Robert Moeller who was up talking with his Russian counterpart. Quite a contrast to you remember when China. Did not turn him over -- Snowden was in Hong Kong it was a much harder much more confrontational tone. I think -- the the Obama administration felt there was a good chance that the Russians would ultimately relented -- -- over. And were quite blind sided by the decision to grant him this one -- song. -- if any if you can't just before we let you go wanna -- limit because the last time that the president had met with -- there was a great deal of attention. Put on their interaction and about the worst they shared obviously and sort of the back and forth that they had when they were in NORTHERN IRELAND. Any kind of results from that plan. Yeah and that was that was quite a trip I was with that that was you know that they had their meeting they had their their one on one meeting in NORTHERN IRELAND and the body language spoke louder than anything actually said I -- -- that the two of them. There when -- all of them you know all of -- -- brought in for for for the photo -- It looks you know. Did very little to disguise the fact that it had been a very -- meeting very little. Agreement on anything of significance at that point the major issue was not -- Snowden. The issue was Syria and there's been no progress. On that issue. The Russians using their veto authority -- -- united nations Security Council. Have blocked any real effort to -- -- through the UN there NASA mission you also of this this lingering question of arms sales. -- to the series. All right ABC's Jonathan -- by the White House John thank you for that we appreciate it of course -- the other road now not at all completely understandable we -- we were we appreciate that thanks John of course big breaking news coming -- -- White House this morning that the president will not be meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin has had been previously scheduled the president will however still attend the G-20. Summit that is expected later on this fall and and just a couple of weeks in fact at the end of this week. Secretary of State's John Kerry and secretary defense -- Chuck Hagel will also be meeting with Russian counterparts to discuss some of the issues the White House has laid out for reasons. Or canceling that one on one meeting with the press where the complete report on for now though I'm Dan Butler New York. With this ABC news digital special reports. This has been a special group. Report from me.

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

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