Kerry urges Russia to be 'calm' on accused leaker Snowden

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry called for Russia on Tuesday to be "calm" and hand over accused leaker Edward Snowden, saying Washington was not looking for "confrontation".

Speaking during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Mr Kerry said the transfer of the former government contractor - who is believed to be in Moscow - was a matter of rule of law after Russia sharply rejected US criticism over the case.

“I would simply appeal for calm and reasonableness in a moment where we don’t need to raise the level of confrontation over something as, frankly, basic and normal as this,” Mr Kerry told a news conference.

“We’re not looking for a confrontation, We’re not ordering anybody; we’re simply requesting under a very normal procedure,” he said.

Mr Kerry said the United States transferred seven people on requests from Russia over the past two years “without any clamour, without any rancour, without any arguments.”

Mr Kerry acknowledged that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was “technically” correct that the United States and Russia did not have an extradition treaty.

But he said: “We would hope that as a nation, as a sovereign nation, Russia would not see its interests in siding with a person who is accused of breaking the law in another country.”

Mr Snowden fled to Hong Kong after unveiling vast US surveillance operations.

He flew to Russia on the way to a friendly Latin American nation and vanished in transit in Moscow.