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Two U.S. senators suggest moving G20 from Russia over Snowden

An employee distributes newspapers, with a photograph (R) of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden seen on a page, at an undergro
An employee distributes newspapers, with a photograph (R) of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden seen on a page, at an undergro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. senators asked President Barack Obama on Friday to consider recommending a different location for the September G20 summit in St. Petersburg if Russia does not hand over fugitive former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Republican Lindsey Graham, who has already suggested an Olympic boycott, and Democrat Charles Schumer offered a resolution urging Moscow to turn Snowden over to the United States and prodding Washington to take action if it does not do so.

The United States is angry over Russia's refusal to hand over Snowden, who is wanted on espionage charges for leaking details of secret U.S. surveillance programs and has been holed up at a Moscow airport for almost a month.

Graham suggested this week that the United States consider boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, over the Snowden case. The U.S. Olympic committee said it opposes the boycott call.

The resolution introduced on Friday does not specifically mention the Olympics, but does say Obama should consider all economic and diplomatic options if Russia continues to allow shelter for Snowden.

It specifically says Obama should consider recommending a different location for the Group of 20 summit if Snowden is allowed to remain in Russia.

Both lawmakers had tough words for the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with which Washington has had touchy negotiations over issues including Iran's nuclear ambitions and the civil war in Syria.

"On multiple fronts, Russia is becoming one of the bad actors in the world," Graham said in a statement.

"Enough is enough. It's time to send a crystal clear message to President Putin about Russia's deplorable behavior, and this resolution will do just that," Schumer said.

(Editing by Alistair Bell and Vicki Allen)

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