President Obama’s Russian “reset” will face another big test Monday, as he and his diplomats meet with their Moscow counterparts in two different cities on two of the trickiest foreign policy challenges of his administration — Syria and Iran.
In the Mexican city of Los Cabos, Obama is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit and have the chance to press Putin over the worsening situation in Syria.
In Moscow the same day, negotiators from the U.S. will join diplomats from Russia and other countries to meet with Iran over its nuclear program.
Efforts to stanch the violence in Syria and check Iran’s nuclear program have hit serious roadblocks in recent weeks, and Russia is considered critical to untangling both messes.
Yet the minimal progress has drawn renewed criticism of U.S. policy toward Moscow, albeit criticism that falls on the upswing of the presidential campaign season.
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged accusations this past week with Russia over its alleged support for Syrian leader Bashar Assad, Obama’s Republican opponent Mitt Romney released a terse statement declaring that the U.S. approach to Russian relations had “clearly failed.”
Romney cited Russia’s support for Assad as well as its alleged protection of Iran from international sanctions.
Russia, though, is still seen by some as key to resolving these standoffs. Russia has gone along with U.N. Security Council efforts to tighten some penalties against Iran over its nuclear program, though it has blocked the harshest punishments.
The U.S. remains under pressure to tighten the screws on Iran this week, with or without robust Russian backing.
Dozens of U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle penned a letter to the president Friday urging Obama to stand tough against Iran in the upcoming talks. With new sanctions expected to take effect at the end of June, the lawmakers pressed the president to hold to them unless Iran truly reverses its position on nuclear program transparency.
The senators backed the proposal floated at the last round of talks in Baghdad to compel Iran to halt uranium enrichment above 5 percent and export all uranium currently enriched above that level.
- Russian ‘reset’ faces test as meetings loom on Iran, Syria (foxnews.com)
- Summit lets Obama, Putin size up the competition (kansascity.com)
- Obama, Putin to meet Monday (toledoblade.com)
- Obama to press Putin on Syria at G20 amid skepticism – Reuters (reuters.com)
- Russia Confirms Romney’s Evaluation (commentarymagazine.com)
- Obama, Putin angle for leverage on Syria, Iran (dailystar.com.lb)
- White House says reset of relations with Russia has been successful (thehill.com)
- U.S.-Russia strains on Syria also test unity on Iran – Philadelphia Inquirer (philly.com)
- Romney Adviser Bolton Sees Opportunity In Syria To Provoke Russia, Iran And China (thinkprogress.org)
- Summit lets Obama, Putin size up the competition (news.yahoo.com)
- Summit lets Obama, Putin size up the competition (wcnc.com)
- US, Russian leaders jockey for leverage on Iran, Syria in first meeting since Putin’s return (foxnews.com)