News / Europe

Russia Increasingly Impatient Over Snowden's Airport Stay

FILE - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in New York, January 16, 2010.FILE - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in New York, January 16, 2010.
x
FILE - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in New York, January 16, 2010.
FILE - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in New York, January 16, 2010.
Reuters
— Edward Snowden should find another country to seek refuge, a Russian official said on Thursday, signaling Moscow's growing impatience over the former U.S. agency spy contractor's lengthening stay at a Moscow airport.
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia had received no request for political asylum from Snowden and he had to solve his problems himself after 11 days in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.
 
President Vladimir Putin has refused to extradite the American and Russian officials have delighted in his success in staying out of the United States' clutches since revealing details of secret U.S. government surveillance programs.
 
But Moscow has also made clear that Snowden is an increasingly unwelcome guest because the longer he stays, the greater the risk of the diplomatic standoff over his fate causing lasting damage to relations with Washington.
 
“He needs to choose a place to go,” Ryabkov told Reuters. “As of this moment, we do not have a formal application from Mr. Snowden asking for asylum in the Russian Federation.”
 
Ryabkov told Itar-Tass news agency separately that Russia “cannot solve anything for him” and the situation should now be resolved “one way or the other”.
 
His remarks echoed comments by President Vladimir Putin, who has urged Snowden, 30, to leave as soon as he can.
 
France and Italy, both U.S. allies, said they had rejected asylum requests from Snowden.
 
“Like many countries France has received, via its ambassador in Moscow, an asylum request from Edward Snowden. For legal reasons and given the applicant's situation, it will not be processed,” Interior Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement.
 
Valls said earlier on Thursday that France's relations with the United States would not allow it to harbor Snowden.
 
Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said any asylum request would have to be presented in person at the border or in Italian territory which Snowden had not done.
 
“As a result there do not exist the legal conditions to accept such a request, which in the government's view would not be acceptable on a political level either,” she told parliament.
 
Relations between Snowden and the Russian authorities appear to have soured when Putin said on Monday that he could only be granted asylum by Moscow if he agreed to stop actions that could harm the United States.
 
Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said on Tuesday that Snowden had withdrawn his interest in asylum in Russia after Putin spelled out the terms. His options have narrowed further since then as no country has agreed to grant him asylum.
 
Keeping relations on an even keel
 
Russian officials have kept Snowden at arm's length since he landed from Hong Kong on June 23, saying the transit area where passengers stay between flights is neutral territory and he will be on Russian soil only if he goes through passport control.
 
Moscow has also done nothing to trumpet his presence or parade him before cameras and Putin has avoided the temptation to mock Obama when asked about the affair in public. He said last week he would prefer not to deal with it at all.
 
Relations with Washington have been strained since Putin's return to the presidency last year. He has accused the United States of backing protesters demanding his removal and Washington is worried that he is cracking down on dissent.
 
But there have been signs of an improvement as the sides try to cooperate more on security since the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, in which two ethnic Chechens are the main suspects. The United States has also shown some restraint in its remarks.
 
“We continue to talk with the Russian government every day [about Snowden], absolutely every day, including myself,” U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul told reporters. “We hope to resolve this ... in a way that we want to have it ended and so far we're very happy with our interactions with the Russian government.”
 
Russia's Interfax news agency underlined Washington's own determination to keep ties on an even keel, quoting an unnamed source as saying Snowden's case had not been raised by U.S. Justice Department officials at recent talks in Moscow.
 
Russia has, however, reveled in the diplomatic fallout since Bolivian President Evo Morales, a Putin ally, was held up on his way home from an energy meeting in Moscow because a number of European countries refused initially to let his plane into their airspace over suspicions that Snowden was on board.
 
Bolivia blamed the delays on Washington and the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized three European Union member states.
 
“The actions of the authorities of France, Spain and Portugal could hardly be considered friendly actions towards Bolivia,” it said. “Russia calls on the international community to comply strictly with international legal principles.”

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid