Washington: A top American lawmaker asked Russia to deport whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned Ecuador that trade preferences could be withdrawn if it gave asylum to the American fugitive.
In a statement Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on Russia to cease sheltering fugitive Snowden and release him immediately into the custody of the United States.
He also warned Ecuador`s government led by President Rafael Correa not to grant Snowden asylum, adding that such a decision would severely jeopardize the preferential trade access provided to goods from Ecuador under the Generalized System of Preferences which is presently before the Congress for renewal.
"Edward Snowden is a fugitive who has endangered the national security of the United States," said Menendez.
"His actions merit prosecution, not praise. Snowden has overstayed his welcome at the Moscow airport. I call on the Russian government, in the interest of justice, as well as US-Russian relations, to release him into the custody of the US Government today," he said.
"Our government will not reward countries for bad behavior. If Snowden is granted asylum in Ecuador, I will lead the effort to prevent the renewal of Ecuador`s duty-free access under GSP and will also make sure there is no chance for renewal of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act" he said.
"Trade preferences are a privilege granted to nations, not a right," Menendez added.
"I urge President Correa to do the right thing by the United States and Ecuador, and deny Snowden`s request for asylum," he said.