US quits from civil society group in rebuke to Russia
ReutersMOSCOW -- The United States has quit a U.S.-Russian forum intended to promote civil society to protest Moscow's clampdown on civil rights and public activism, the State Department said on Friday.
January 27, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
The Civil Society Working Group was set up during a thaw in ties after Barack Obama became president, and the U.S. pullout reflects how strains have grown since Vladimir Putin started campaigning in 2011 to return to the Kremlin.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Putin's crackdown frustrated the work of the group.
“We remain committed to a dialogue with the government of Russia on democracy issues and human rights issues, but this particular working group was not working,” she told reporters.
“It was not advancing the cause of civil society in Russia, so we will do that in other ways,” added Nuland.