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No quick decision on Snowden's asylum request: Ecuadorian FM

There would be no quick decision from the Ecuadorian government on whether to grant asylum status to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Aroca said here Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, Patino, who is on a trip to several Southeast Asian countries, said his government is still studying Snowden's Asylum request.

"It took us two months to make decision in the case of Julian Assange, so do not expect us to make a decision sooner this time," he said through a translator.

The WikiLeaks founder Assange has been taking refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since last June to avoid his extradition to Sweden, and was granted political asylum by Ecuador in August.

Patino said he had no information on Snowden's whereabout. When asked about if his government would provide any protection to Snowden when considering the asylum request, Patino said, "If he goes to the embassy, we will make a decision; if he doesn't go to the embassy, we cannot speculate about that."

He also said he had no information on the allegations by Assange, who is helping Snowden, that the U.S. National Security Agency ex-contractor was given a refugee document of passage by the Ecuadorian government.

Snowden, charged by the U.S. government with three felonies, including two under the Espionage Act, reportedly arrived in Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport on Sunday from Hong Kong and was expected to take Aeroflot flight SU150 to Havana, Cuba on Monday.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday the U.S. intelligence whistleblower was still in the transit area at Moscow 's Sheremetyevo airport.

[Source: Kuala Lumpur, 26Jun13]

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