Putin taunts Obama ahead of G-20 summit
Vladimir Putin is making a sport of lashing out at President Obama, again taunting him about the Edward Snowden fiasco while accusing his administration of lying about Syria — on the eve of what will be a contentious showdown in St. Petersburg.
The Russian president ridiculed the Obama administration’s claim that Syrian rebels are not dominated by al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
“They lie beautifully, of course,” Putin said in a wide-ranging interview just before he and Obama meet face to face at the G-20 summit.
He called Secretary of State John Kerry’s testimony about the rebels before a Senate committee on Tuesday “unpleasant and surprising for me.”
“We proceed from the assumption that they are decent people,” Putin said. “But he is lying and knows he is lying. It’s sad.”
The bad blood between Putin and Obama was evident during their barely civil appearance together at a June summit in Northern Ireland.
It got worse after the Kremlin allowed Snowden, the NSA leaker and No. 1 US fugitive, to stay in Russia last month. Obama retaliated by canceling a meeting with Putin in Moscow before the G-20 summit.
They will finally meet today in St. Petersburg — on the heels of Putin’s interview with The Associated Press and Russia’s state Channel 1 television that appeared timed to upstage Obama.
In the interview, the former KGB officer got in some digs about how Obama’s intelligence services botched the hunt for Snowden, who fled from Hong Kong to a Moscow airport and is now living in Russia.
“Representatives of the American intelligence agencies — and I hope they won’t be angry — but they could have been more professional, and the diplomats as well,” he said.
He said the US blundered by trapping Snowden at the airport and not letting him fly on to a country from which he could be extradited.
On Syria, the Kremlin leader blasted as “ludicrous” and “absolutely absurd” the Obama administration’s claim that the Syrian regime was responsible for last month’s poison-gas attack.
Putin toyed with Obama on the subject of any UN-approved military action against Syria.
“I do not exclude this, but I would like to draw your attention to one absolutely key aspect: In line with international law, only the UN Security Council can sanction the use of force against a foreign state,” he said.
“Any other pretext or method which might be used to justify the use of force against an independent, sovereign state is inadmissible and can only be interpreted as an act of aggression,” he added.
Besides, he said, the UN can only act if the poison gas was proven and the US has failed to that.http://nypost.com/2013/09/04/putin-taunts-obama-ahead-of-g-20-summit/