US tells Russia it has legal basis to expel Snowden
Washington: The White House insisted on Wednesday that there was a clear, legal basis for Russia to expel fugitive leaker Edward Snowden, after President Vladimir Putin rejected earlier US demands.
"While we do not have an extradition treaty with Russia, there is nonetheless a clear legal basis to expel Snowden," National Security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.
Hayden said that Snowden, currently in a transit facility at Moscow airport, could be expelled on the basis of his travel documents and the pending charges against him.
"Accordingly, we are asking the Russian government to take action to expel Snowden without delay and to build upon the strong law enforcement cooperation we have had, particularly since the Boston Marathon bombing," she said.
Putin had earlier said that Russia only extradited foreign nationals to countries with which it had a formal extradition treaty and it did not have such an agreement with Washington.
But taking care not to escalate the row with Russia over Snowden, Hayden said the White House agreed "with President Putin that we do not want this issue to negatively impact our bilateral relations."
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