US urges Russia to expel whistleblower
Papers issued to guarantee Edward Snowden safe passage to Ecuador, Wikileaks founder says
Mr Carney said: “We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the US-China relationship.”
The dual lines of diplomacy — harsh with China, hopeful with the Russians — came just days after Mr Obama met separately with leaders of both countries in an effort to close gaps on some of the major disputes facing them.
Mr Snowden arrived in Moscow yesterday, but his whereabouts were thrown into question today when a plane took off from Moscow for Cuba with an empty seat booked in his name. The US has revoked his passport.
In Washington, secretary of state John Kerry said it would be “deeply troubling” if Russia or Hong Kong had adequate notice about Snowden’s plans to flee to a country that would grant him asylum and still allowed him leave.
“We don’t know, specifically, where he may head, or what his intended destination may be,” Mr Kerry said, during a news conference in New Delhi where he was discussing bilateral issues between the US and India.
US officials pointed to improved co-operation with the Russians in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and to assistance the US has given Russia on law enforcement cases.
“We continue to hope that the Russians will do the right thing,” Mr Kerry told NBC News. “We think it’s very important in terms of our relationship. We think it’s very important in terms of rule of law. These are important standards. We have returned seven criminals that they requested for extradition from the United States over the last two years. So we really hope that the right choice will be made here.”
“We don’t know, specifically, where he may head, or what his intended destination may be,” he said.
Mr Carney said the US was in touch through diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries through which Mr Snowden might travel or where he might end up and urged them to return him to America.
An Aeroflot representative said Mr Snowden wasn’t on flight SU150 to Havana, which was filled with journalists trying to track him down.
After spending a night in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Mr Snowden had been expected to fly to Cuba and Venezuela en route to possible asylum in Ecuador.
Some analysts said it was likely that the Russians were questioning Mr Snowden, interested in what he knew about US electronic espionage against Moscow.
Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said his government had received an asylum request, adding today that the decision “has to do with freedom of expression and with the security of citizens around the world.”