(ABC NEWS) An extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong, signed in 1996, could determine if and how alleged NSA leaker Edward Snowdenis handed over to American authorities and brought back to the U.S. to face any charges.

The process could take months or years.

The treaty governs the transfer of suspected criminals between the U.S. and Hong Kong, which have a well-established record of bilateral cooperation.

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