The State Department said that the talks would go ahead and the Snowden's case would be among the key issues raised when Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet their Russian counterparts.

"We have raised the Snowden issue with Russian officials many times in recent weeks. We expect to do so again," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

"We would like to see Snowden’s return to United States. I don't know technically what that requires, but we know they have the capability to do that,” he added.

United States appears to be trying hard to avoid derailing ties with Russia by proceeding with some high-level talks with it.

Experts believe that the Snowden asylum issue is likely to have limited blow on the US-Russia ties. The two sides would not worsen relations below a certain level as US needs Russia more than Russia needs US, experts say. They have made the observation in the light of issues such as nuclear non-proliferation in Iran, the Syrian crisis settlement and others.

Snowden had spent more than five weeks in a Moscow airport while trying to find a country for asylum. US wanted Russia to return him so that he could face charges for leaking National Security Agency surveillance secrets to the media. But Moscow's rejection has prompted President Barack Obama to rethink whether to hold a summit in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.

SOLUTIONS IN SYRIA

Worsened ties between the United States and Russia could make it even more difficult for the two nations to arrange any kind of political solution in Syria, for example.

Moscow has supported President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war even as Obama has led international calls for him to step aside. Psaki said Syria would be part of the conversation.

"We certainly have our share of disagreements with Russia over a number of issues. And I'm sure they will be part of the conversation, as well," Psaki said.

She added that Iran's nuclear program would also come up.

There are concerns in Washington that, given deepening tensions, Russia may break ranks with Western countries seeking to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions through tough sanctions.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov criticized perceived U.S. wobbling on the need for top-level contact between the two countries.

"The US administration questions further bilateral contact at the highest level (due to the situation with Snowden)," Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Interfax. "It seems to me that this is an utter distortion of reality. This is viewing the world through a distorted lens."

Chronology of the Edward Snowden saga

May 20 - Snowden left Hawaii for Hong Kong.

June 10 - The Guardian, the first newspaper to disclose the US government's secret surveillance programmes following a video interview with Snowden, published his identity at his request.

June 21 - Washington Post reported US prosecutors had filed a criminal complaint charging Snowden with espionage, theft and unauthorized communication of national defence and intelligence information, and asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant.

June 23 - Snowden arrived in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport from Hong Kong.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Aroca said on his Twitter account that the Ecuadorian government received an asylum request from Snowden, says a news agency.

June 24 - Media said Snowden was expected to leave Moscow for Cuba, but minutes after the jet bridge of a Moscow-Havana flight disembarked, journalists dashing to seat 17A were disappointed to find he was not there.

The White House said it expected Russia to look at the options available to expel Snowden back to the US.

June 25 - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the US extradition demand of Snowden as "groundless and unacceptable". He said Snowden had not crossed the border into Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Helsinki that Snowden was still in the transit area at Sheremetyevo airport.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he would consider an asylum request from Snowden if Venezuela received one, reported Xinhua.

June 27 - Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa defended his government's decision to consider the asylum request made by Snowden.

June 28 - Russia's presidential human rights envoy Vladimir Lukin said Moscow was not obliged to grant political asylum to Snowden.

July 1 - Russia's Foreign Ministry said Snowden had asked for political asylum in Russia.

July 2 - Norway said it had received an asylum application from Snowden but would reject it under Norwegian law.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Snowden no longer intended to seek political asylum in Russia.

India turned down Snowden's asylum request.

Austrian interior ministry said Snowden had made an asylum application, but the government declared it "invalid", reported a news agency.

Brazil confirmed it received an asylum request from Snowden, but said it had no plans to respond.

Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca denied rumours that Snowden was onboard the Bolivian President's plane flying out of Europe.

July 4 - French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said France had refused to grant Snowden's request for political asylum in Paris.

July 5 - Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his government would be willing to grant political asylum to Snowden "if conditions permit".

July 6 - Bolivian President Evo Morales said his country would offer humanitarian asylum to Snowden.

July 9 - Alexei Pushkov, head of the international affairs committee in the Russian lower house of parliament, said Snowden had agreed to seek political asylum in Venezuela.

Brazil said it had no intention of granting him asylum.

July 12 - Snowden met Russian human rights activists and lawyers at the airport.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the State Duma, said Snowden planned to apply for political asylum in Russia.

The US reiterated its call for Russia to hand over Snowden to face espionage charges. US President Barack Obama discussed the status of Snowden with Putin hours after Snowden made clear his intention to seek political asylum in Russia.

July 15 - Putin said Snowden would leave Russia when the opportunity emerged.

July 16 - lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Snowden had filed an official request for temporary asylum in Russia.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney said Snowden should be expelled and returned to the US to face espionage charges.

July 26 - Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would not hand over Snowden to his home country.

July 27 - Russia's Justice Ministry said Russian laws did not limit the time Snowden could stay in the transit zone at Sheremetyevo airport.

Aug 1 - Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia for one year and moved to a safe place.

JPN/Agencies

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