Russia says it went by the book in giving Snowden asylum

Aug. 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Russia said it did not bend any rules in order to grant accused U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden temporary political asylum.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Friday that the process of issuing permission for Snowden to remain in Russia for a year went by the rule book.

"We acted strictly according to our laws," he said after a meeting in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. "We have to be bound by legal obligations rooted in the Russian law and our international obligations."

Snowden spent five weeks holed up at the Moscow airport in order to remain out of the reach of U.S. authorities seeking to prosecute him for revealing the details of the National Security Agency's communications surveillance programs.

The Kremlin has said it had no legal justification to turn over Snowden to the Americans, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said.

Lavrov repeated Moscow's desire that the flap over Snowden not undermine Russia's overall relations with the United States.

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