Delegates from the US government will not go to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) until the situation with investor Michael Calvey, who is under house arrest in Moscow, is resolved, Anthony Godfrey, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Moscow, told TASS.
He was speaking during the Fort Ross Dialogue - Meeting in Russia forum in Vologda.
"I would not say that this is a genuine boycott, but Ambassador [of the United States to the Russian Federation John] Huntsman has repeatedly stated that it would be difficult for him to visit the forum (SPIEF) while Mr. Calvey is in custody and a criminal case has been opened against him on the issue related to the economic dispute," Godfrey said.
"I’m afraid that since there is no answer to this highly crucial question so far, the US government will not be represented at the forum," he noted.
Godfrey added that the US embassy in Moscow would continue to defend Calvey and US citizen Paul Whelan, who is accused of espionage.
"We are disappointed by the fact that the FSB investigators and the Russian government decided to extend the investigation of Paul Whelan’s case for another three months," he said.
"So far no evidence of his illegal activities has been submitted," he stressed.
The diplomat stressed that American companies will decide on participating in SPIEF independently of US authorities.
"Our American firms make their own decisions regarding participation. We have an open dialogue with the business community. Ultimately, companies can make decisions themselves in accordance with their rules," he said.
When asked whether a US business delegation would attend a meeting of foreign businessmen hosted by President Vladimir Putin at the forum, the Deputy Chief of the US mission in Moscow said that if they are invited to this event, the Americans "are unlikely to be impolite."
The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is scheduled to take place on June 6-8. The Kremlin said earlier that Russian authorities would like Calvey to participate in the event but the situation would hardly make it possible for him to attend. The media said last week that Calvey’s lawyers had requested Russia’s Investigative Committee allow their client to take part in the SPIEF.