Washington: Despite Russia’s decision to grant asylum to former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, the United States has decided to hold talks with Moscow’s defense and foreign ministers in Washington on Friday.
The State Department said that the talks would go ahead and the Snowden’s case would be among the key issues raised when Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet their Russian counterparts.
“We have raised the Snowden issue with Russian officials many times in recent weeks. We expect to do so again,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
United States appears to be trying hard to avoid derailing ties with its Cold War rival by proceeding with some high-level talks with it while still leaving Obama’s participation in the summit in doubt.
The experts believe that the two sides would not worsen relations below a certain level as US needs Russia more than Russia needs US. The experts have made the observation in the light of issues such as nuclear non-proliferation in Iran, the Syrian crisis settlement and others.
Snowden had spent more than five weeks in a Moscow airport while trying to find a country for asylum. US wanted Russia to return him so that he could face charges for leaking National Security Agency surveillance secrets to the media. But Moscow’s rejection has prompted President Barack Obama to rethink whether to hold a summit in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.