Russia more impatient over Snowden's stay
Updated: 2013-07-05 08:16
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 concerned 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," US 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."
In a message to Obama on US Independence Day, Putin said the United States and Russia shared a special responsibility for global security and counter-terrorism and that he is certain they can agree on key issues despite differences, the Kremlin said.
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 US Justice Department officials at recent talks in Moscow.
Russia has, however, revelled 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 criticised 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."