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Obama Vows 'No Wheeling And Dealing' For Snowden

  • RFE/RL

Edward Snowden's U.S. passport has been revoked.

Edward Snowden's U.S. passport has been revoked.

President Barack Obama says he won't engage in "wheeling and dealing and trading" to get Edward Snowden extradited to the United States.

Speaking to journalists in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, Obama said that Washington has "a whole lot of business" with Russia and China and cannot bargain for extraditing Snowden.

"My continued expectation is that Russia -- or other countries that have talked about potentially providing Mr. Snowden asylum -- recognize that they are part of an international community and that they should be abiding by international law," Obama said. "And we'll continue to press them as hard as we can to make sure that they do so."

Snowden is the former U.S. intelligence contractor responsible for leaking details on worldwide American surveillance activities.

He is believed to be spending his fifth day at a Moscow airport, where he reportedly arrived on June 23 from Hong Kong. His future plans are unclear.

Obama rejected suggestions the United States might send the Air Force to force down a plane carrying Snowden from Russia to another country.

"I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker," Obama said.

Obama also tried to calm down domestic anxieties about the government's extensive surveillance operations.

"I want to make sure that everybody -- Congress, opinion leaders, and our government officials -- feel confident that the laws are being obeyed, that there is strong oversight, and that the American people don't have a Big Brother who is snooping into their business," he said. "I'm confident of that, but I want to make sure that everybody is confident of that."

U.S. officials have asked Russia to hand Snowden over so he can face espionage charges in the United States.

Ecuador said on June 27 that they had not processed Snowden's request for political asylum as he has not reached any of its diplomatic missions.

Ecuador said it is waiving preferential rights granted under a trade agreement with the United States to demonstrate its principled approach to Snowden's asylum request.

The government of leftist President Rafael Correa said that the preferential rights had become "a new instrument of blackmail."

The United States is Ecuador's main trade partner.

The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act provides customs benefits in exchange for efforts to fight the drugs trade. It is set to expire on July 31, unless the U.S. Congress renews it.


With reporting by AP, dpa, AFP, and Reuters
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