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Bolivia denies Snowden on president's plane
Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca Tuesday denied U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden was on the plane flying Bolivia's president out of Europe, after the plane was diverted on suspicions it was carrying both men.
In a televised announcement, the minister said "we don't know who invented the lie, but we want to denounce the injustice of ( diverting) President Evo Morales' plane to the international community."
The plane carrying Morales from Moscow, where he was attending a meeting of natural gas-producing nations, was diverted to Vienna, Austria after France and Portugal refused to allow it to enter their airspace.
Earlier Tuesday, Bolivia's government said it had not officially received an asylum request from Snowden, but was willing to consider such a petition.
"Officially no request has arrived, but if it arrives, the president (Evo Morales) has said we will consider it," Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera told reporters at a press conference.
Garcia referred to President Morales' statements made Tuesday in Moscow that "if there is a petition, of course we are willing to discuss, to analyze the issue."
Also on Tuesday, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks revealed Bolivia was among some 20 countries Snowden had requested political asylum from, after withdrawing his asylum request from Russia, because of the conditions imposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin publicly offered Snowden asylum on the condition that he stop affecting the United States with his disclosures.
Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), blew the lid off the agency's secret global surveillance program, angering Washington, which has charged him with espionage.
Snowden first fled to Hong Kong, but is now reportedly at a Moscow airport transit zone awaiting word on asylum.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has been asking countries to refuse Snowden asylum, as Ecuador's presidente recentrly revealed.
[Source: Xinhua, La Paz, 02Jul13]
DDHH en Bolivia
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