The Obama administration has been trying to take the heat out of a diplomatic row with Russia over the fate of the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
After President Vladimir Putin ruled out handing him over despite confirming he was in the transit area of a Moscow airport, US Secretary of State John Kerry cautiously questioned the Russian approach.
“We are not looking for a confrontation, we are not ordering anybody, we are simply requesting under a very normal procedure, for the transfer of somebody. There is no extradition treaty, but there are standards of behaviour between sovereign nations. There is common law, there is respect for rule of law,” Kerry said.
Snowden who faces espionage charges in the US for leaking its secret spy programme, has asked for asylum in Ecuador.
The country’s foreign minister said if America wants him, a written request is required.