First on CNN: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has turned down a Russian request to meet to discuss Syria, his office says, making it unclear if any U.S. lawmakers will sit down with a planned delegation from Moscow.
This comes less than a day after House Speaker John Boehner rejected a similar request from the Russian government.
A spokesman for the Russian embassy would not comment on the declined requests. “We are still working on the visit,” Maxim Abramov said.
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MOSCOW – National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wants asylum in Russia and is willing to stop sharing information as a trade-off for such a deal, according to a lawmaker who was among a dozen activists and officials to meet with him Friday at the Moscow airport where he has been marooned for weeks.
Human Rights Watch provided a photo of Snowden at the meeting, the first new image to appear of the former NSA systems analyst since the Guardian newspaper broke the story of widespread U.S. Internet surveillance based on his leaks.
Whether Russia would be willing to take Snowden up on his request is unclear. The Kremlin has signaled that it wants Snowden out. But granting asylum would be a diplomatically risky move, threatening to worsen Moscow-Washington already strained by U.S. criticism of President Vladimir Putin‘s crackdown on the country’s opposition and Putin’s allegation that the U.S. is meddling in Russian affairs.
“He is a transit passenger in the transit zone and is still there now,” Putin said. “Mr. Snowden is a free man. The sooner he selects his final destination point, the better both for us and for himself.”
Putin said Snowden’s arrival in Russia was “completely unexpected.”
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 12:00 am
BOGOTA, Colombia The three Latin American countries said to be helping Edward Snowden flee from American authorities are united in their opposition to the Obama administration and pursue foreign policy objectives designed to counter U.S. influence.
As Snowden, the intelligence contractor who disclosed documents about U.S. surveillance programs, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday, Russian media reported that he was booked on a flight to the Cuban capital of Havana, and from there on to Caracas, Venezuela.
By MAX SEDDON Associated Press
MOSCOW June 23, 2013 (AP)
The Interfax news agency also quoted an unidentified Russian security source in Moscow as saying that Snowden wasn’t on the plane.
The airline said earlier Snowden registered for the flight using his U.S. passport, which American officials say has been annulled.
After spending a night in Moscow’s airport, the former National Security Agency contractor — and admitted leaker of state secrets — had been expected to fly to Cuba and Venezuela en route to possible asylum in Ecuador.
WASHINGTON – The bizarre journey of Edward Snowden is far from over. After spending a night in Moscow‘s airport, the former National Security Agency contractor and admitted leaker of U.S. state secrets was expected to fly to Cuba and Venezuela en route to possible asylum in Ecuador.
But the U.S. says Moscow should hand Snowden over to Washington.
Several Russian news agencies were saying early Monday that Snowden had checked in for a flight to Havana.
Snowden, also a former CIA technician, fled Hong Kong on Sunday to dodge U.S. efforts to extradite him on espionage charges. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, said his government had received an asylum request. He added Monday that Ecuador’s decision about the request involves “freedom of expression and … the security of citizens around the world.” He did not say how long it would take Ecuador to decide.
The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks has said it would help Snowden.
- Snowden lands in Moscow, likely bound for Ecuador
- Snowden’s impact on U.S. relations with China, Russia
- U.S. files espionage charges against NSA leaker
Snowden was on a flight from Hong Kong that arrived in Moscow Sunday and was booked on a flight to Cuba Monday, the Russian news agencies ITAR-Tass and Interfax reported, citing unnamed airline officials.
Patino said, “We know that he’s currently in Moscow, and we are … in touch with the highest authorities of Russia.”
The United States is asking Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela not to let in Snowden, who leaked information about NSA surveillance programs, a senior administration official told CNN on Sunday. The United States also is asking those countries to expel him if they do admit him, the official said.
By Fred Weir, Correspondent / May 7, 2013
MOSCOW – Secretary of State John Kerry huddled in the Kremlin for several hours with President Vladimir Putin Tuesday, in what US officials described as an effort to “intensify” US-Russia dialogue and inject some fresh juice into a bilateral relationship that’s been stumbling aimlessly, amid growing acrimony, for over a year.
More urgently, he told Mr. Putin that Russia and the United States must try harder to forge a common position on the fast-deteriorating situation in Syria, where conflicting charges of chemical weapons usage have alarmed the big powers, and a series of Israeli airstrikes in recent days have raised the specter of a much wider war.
“The United States believes that we share some very significant common interests with respect to Syria,” Mr. Kerry told Putin.
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Those mutual interests include promoting stability in the region, blocking extremists from gaining power, and working together to broker a peaceful political transition for the civil war-wracked country, he added.
But according to a brief note posted on the Kremlin’s official website, Putin indicated that he was only interested in a general discussion of “global problems” and would probably wait for his upcoming meetings with President Obama to make any serious decisions.
“I hope to soon meet with [Obama] in person. We will have opportunities to do so several times this year,” Putin wrote.