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Snowden awaits go-ahead to leave Moscow airport

China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-26 08:36

Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on Thursday awaited permission to leave the Moscow airport where he has been stuck for over a month as the United States stepped up pressure on Russia to send him back home.

Reports on Wednesday indicated that Russian authorities were preparing to let Snowden leave the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport but then - in mysterious circumstances - he failed to emerge.

Snowden has applied for asylum in Russia and is now awaiting a document that would allow him to formally cross the border and move freely in Russia while his application is being considered - a prospect the United States has said would be "deeply disappointing".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry about Snowden's case on Wednesday, but it was not clear if their discussion had an impact on the fugitive's fate.

The US ambassador in Russia on Thursday reiterated that Washington wants Moscow to hand over Snowden, despite the absence of an extradition agreement between the two countries.

"The US is not asking for 'extradition', but simply the return of Mr Snowden. We have sent many people back to Russia," Ambassador Michael McFaul said on Thursday morning.


(China Daily 07/26/2013 page11)

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