Obama advisor in Russia amid blacklist row

2013-04-15 12:02
US President Barack Obama's national security advisor, Tom Donilon, leaves Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow. (Yuri Kadobnov, AFP)

US President Barack Obama's national security advisor, Tom Donilon, leaves Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow. (Yuri Kadobnov, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - US President Barack Obama's national security advisor was set on Monday to hold bruising talks with top Russian officials in Moscow, days after the former foes exchanged Cold War-style blacklists in a row over human rights.

White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is the highest-ranking American to visit Russia since Obama's inauguration for a second term in January, but his trip coincides with one of the trickiest moments in bilateral relations in recent years.

The United States late on Friday published a list of 18 Russians it was blacklisting over human rights abuses. Russia a day later angrily responded with a similar list of its own in a tit-for-tat move.

"The first person to feel the effects of Washington's blacklists is going to be T. Donilon. He is not coming to us at the best of times," the head of the Russian lower house of parliament's foreign affairs committee Alexei Pushkov wrote on Twitter.

The US list blacklists 16 Russians allegedly linked to the death of jailed lawyer Sergei Magntisky in 2009 as well as two Chechens who stand accused of murder. They are barred from travelling to the US or holding assets there.

Russia slammed the move as unfriendly and a day later hit back with its own blacklist of 18 Americans including several well-known figures linked to detention practices at the Guantanamo prison.

Irritation with Washington

Donilon on his two-day visit is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. However in a sign of the chill in Russia-US ties, it is not clear whether he will meet President Vladimir Putin.

Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the Russian strongman might at some point "join in" the discussion between Patrushev and Donilon "if his working schedule allows".

The Kommersant daily said the Kremlin's refusal to confirm the meeting was a sign of its irritation with Washington, not just over the blacklists but over the fact Obama had failed to meet with Patrushev on one of his visits to Washington.

According to Lavrov, Donilon will be carrying a message for Putin from Obama over the prospects for bilateral relations.

Even before the blacklist row, the visit was seen as having huge importance as Obama looks for new bilateral nuclear weapons cuts and support from Russia in the North Korea crisis.

The US blacklist stems from the Magnitsky Act which Washington passed last year and infuriated Russia. Moscow responded by banning adoptions of Russian children by Americans, a move that caused an international outcry.

The death of Magnitsky in pre-trial detention in 2009 at the age of 37 - after being accused of a fraud scam that he claimed to have uncovered - has come to symbolise the Kremlin's failure to protect human rights.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  vladimir putin  |  us  |  russia

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.