Venezuela asylum offer Snowden's best option: Russian lawmaker

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 06, 2013 5:55 AM
Venezuela asylum offer Snowden's best option: Russian lawmaker

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Political asylum in Venezuela would be the best choice for former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Saturday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday offered asylum to Snowden, who is believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

"Asylum for Snowden in Venezuela would be the best solution. That country is in a sharp conflict with the United States," pro-Kremlin lawmaker Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the international affairs committee of Russia's lower house of parliament, said on Twitter.

Pushkov is unlikely to be involved in any decision on Snowden's fate. President Vladimir Putin's spokesman declined to comment on Venezuela's offer, saying it was not the Kremlin's affair.

Russia is keen to see the back of Snowden, who landed in Moscow on June 23 after publishing revelations about electronic surveillance at the National Security Agency. His unexpected arrival has complicated already difficult relations between the two former Cold War superpowers.

Pushkov said: "Snowden's case proves that U.S. attempts to bring the world under electronic, military and political control are doomed."

The 30-year-old whistleblower withdrew a request for asylum in Russia and had his appeals to be granted refuge turned down by more than a dozen other countries.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Douglas Busvine)