Russian President Vladimir Putin is determined not to allow a spat over Edward Snowden to hurt ties with the United States, his spokesman said on Friday.
However, the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Putin was not involved in talks over the fate of the 30-year-old former US spy agency contractor, who is wanted by the United States on espionage charges and has been stuck at a Moscow airport for more than a month.
Russia has refused to hand over Snowden, who leaked details of secret US electronic surveillance programmes to British and US media, to the United States, and is considering a temporary asylum request.
Peskov said Putin had expressed “strong determination” not to let ties with Washington suffer over the dispute, “no matter how the situation develops”.
But he reiterated Moscow’s stance that Russia “did not hand over, does not hand over and will not hand over anybody”.
He added that Russia’s FSB federal security service FSB and its US counterpart, the FBI were in talks on the matter.
“Snowden has not filed any requests that would need to be considered by the head of state. The president is not taking part in discussing the problem with US colleagues,” Peskov told journalists.