United States and Russia continued to hold discussions on the deportation of whistleblower Edward Snowden,the former CIA contractor wanted in US on espionage charges who is stranded in the transit area of the Moscow airport.
“We are,indeed,continuing to be in contact with the Russians. We believe that there’s a basis for law enforcement cooperation to expel him,to return him to the United States,and we’re continuing to make that point to Russian authorities,” said State Department spokesman,Patrick Ventrell.
Snowden accused of leaking the secretive internet and phone surveillance program of the CIA,before fleeing to Hong Kong and boarding a plane to Moscow from there. His passport has also been revoked by the US authorities. “The Obama administration is asking Russia to deport him immediately. The discussions are being held through diplomatic and law enforcement channels,” Ventrell said.
He added that in recent months,the US has deported to Russia several people after requests in this regard were made by Moscow. As such he hoped that Russia would co-operate with the United States on this issue.
“We have had many hundreds of criminals who have been returned to Russia over the years,and it’s done through routine law enforcement cooperation” he said.
“On that basis,we also are asking for the return of this individual who was accused of very serious felony crimes here in the United States,” he added.
“We are making the point to them that we do think there’s a basis for him to be returned,based on our longstanding law enforcement cooperation,and so under those terms,we’re seeking his return,” Ventrell said.
Even as the US has revoked the American passport of Snowden,he said in certain circumstances the United States does issues one way travel document for its people. “I can’t get into an individual case that we have or haven’t authorized a travel document for this individual or another,but that’s what we do in these cases in general,” he said.