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France - Bolivia

France denies purposely delaying Morales' flight

Bolivian President Evo Morales leaving the Vienna International Airport
Bolivian President Evo Morales leaving the Vienna International Airport Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

French officials have denied that France refused to let a flight carrying Bolivia's president cross over its airspace.

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President Evo Morales left Europe today amidst a diplomatic drama, one day after his flight was rerouted and then delayed in Austria.

Rumours circulated that he was trying to bring back NSA leaker Edward Snowden to Latin America, who has been awaiting asylum while hiding out in a Russian airport.

Bolivia demanded an explanation from several European countries it accused of purposely delaying Morales’ flight.

Spain also said the plane was free to cross its territory.

The plane carrying Morales back to Bolivia from Moscow was rerouted to Austria Tuesday night, a new twist in the ongoing Snowden saga. His flight took off again from Vienna before noon earlier today.

Bolivian and Austrian officials both say Snowden was not on the president’s plane, despite suggestions by Morales that his government might consider granting asylum to the American fugitive.

However, Sacha Llorenti, Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, called those countries that refused airspace permission to the president’s flight, an “act of aggression”.

Edward Snowden, a former NSA systems analyst revealed a large US and UK surveillance program. American authorities have been calling for his return to the US to face espionage charges. He is believed to still be hiding in a Moscow airport.

He has since applied for asylum in over 18 countries. However, many of the European countries have responded saying his request would not be considered unless he did so from inside the respective country.

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