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Ecuador president: Snowden can't leave Moscow

By Michael Weissenstein

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:53 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2013

PUERTO VIEJO, Ecuador >> National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is "under the care of the Russian authorities" and can't leave Moscow's international airport without his U.S. passport, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa told The Associated Press today.

Correa said he had no idea Snowden's intended destination was Ecuador when he fled Hong Kong for Russia last week. He said the Ecuadorean consul in London committed "a serious error" without consulting any officials in Ecuador's capital when the consul issued a letter of safe passage for Snowden. He said the consul would be punished, although he didn't specify how.

Correa said "the case is not in Ecuador's hands" and said Snowden must assume responsibility if he broke U.S. laws. Correa said the broader legitimacy of Snowden's action must be taken into consideration and Ecuador would still consider an asylum request but only if Snowden is able to make it to Ecuador or an Ecuadorean Embassy to apply.

"This is the decision of Russian authorities. He doesn't have a passport. I don't know the Russian laws, I don't know if he can leave the airport, but I understand that he can't," Correa said. "At this moment he's under the care of the Russian authorities. If he arrives at an Ecuadorean Embassy we'll analyze his request for asylum."

The U.S. is seeking the former NSA contractor's extradition for leaking secret documents that, among other things, detail U.S. surveillance of international online activity. On Sunday, German magazine Der Spiegel reported that classified documents taken by Snowden also revealed U.S. spies had allegedly bugged European Union offices.

Correa's Sunday statement appears to contradict Russia's repeated statements that Snowden is not on Russian territory because he has not left the airport transit area, and he is free to depart whenever he likes. Russian authorities restated that position Sunday in response to Correa's comments.

Without entirely closing the door to Snowden, whom Ecuadorean authorities strongly praised earlier in the week, Correa appeared to be telegraphing that it's unlikely the 30-year-old leaker will ever end up in Ecuador. He repeatedly emphasized the importance of the U.S. legal process and praised Vice President Joe Biden for what he described as a courteous and appreciated half-hour call about the Snowden case on Friday.

He similarly declined to reject an important set of U.S. trade benefits for Ecuadorean exports, again a contrast with his government's unilateral renunciation of a separate set of tariff benefits earlier in the week.

"If he really could have broken North American laws, I am very respectful of other countries and their laws and I believe that someone who breaks the law must assume his responsibilities," Correa said. "But we also believe in human rights and due process."

He said Biden had asked him to send Snowden back to the United States immediately because he faces criminal charges, is a fugitive from justice and has had his passport revoked.

"I told him that we would analyze his opinion, which is very important to us," Correa said, adding that he had demanded the return of several Ecuadoreans who are in the United States but face criminal charges at home.

"I greatly appreciated the call," he said, contrasting it with threats by a small group of U.S. senators to revoke Ecuadorean trade privileges. "When I received the call from Vice President Bide, which was with great cordiality and a different vision, we really welcomed it a lot."

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honokai wrote:
The Republic of Ecuador exports about 4 million tons of bananas every year.
on June 30,2013 | 07:43AM
cojef wrote:
Beside bananas, the total importation of agricultural products amounts to over $250 millions. VP Biden must have apprised President Correa that our trade could be redirected to the other Central and Southern American countries. Snowden has had his passport revoked so absent that, he has no way to exit/enter another country. He may be stuck in Russia for good, if they want him.
on June 30,2013 | 08:25AM
Skyler wrote:
Looks like the business community (flower growers, farmers) got their message through to the Ecuadorian Gov't loud & clear.
on June 30,2013 | 10:13AM
Kapakahi wrote:
The Empire threatens and the subordinate province buckles. There are other nations in the world willing to defend a human rights advocate like Snowden against the threats of the US ruler. And those who do not consider the right to be secure in ones communications and effects from unreasonable search should reflect whether they are more loyal to the bullying power of the federal government or to the vision of liberty which is embodied in the US Bill of Rights. Does your authoritarian impulse trump your patriotism? If so, your condition is very common.
on June 30,2013 | 11:11AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Kapakahi on rights versus patriotism. A true patriot is willing to sacrifice some rights to defend the country. A coward. liar and traitor runs away after vowing to protect the US and its Constitution, then discloses the secrets he has been privy to, then leaks the secrets. Defending Snowden and his morals is indicative of the new generation of Americans. After all only 1% of the people are patriotic enough to join the military, while the rest of the 99% just enjoy the fruits of the freedoms the 1% defends. Talk about kapakahi (upside down),it used to be the other way around.
on June 30,2013 | 04:11PM
bender wrote:
It's called diplomacy, and for Ecuador the realization that there are more important things than poking the US in the eye.
on July 1,2013 | 05:19AM
scooters wrote:
"He said the Ecuadorean consul in London committed "a serious error" without consulting any officials in Ecuador's capital when the consul issued a letter of safe passage for Snowden. He said the consul would be punished, although he didn't specify how" Does a Firing Squad sound familiar?
on June 30,2013 | 03:17PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
The games they play. Three and a half years from today, after no one knows where Mr. Snowden is, he will show up in Ecuador.
on June 30,2013 | 04:00PM
pcman wrote:
The attitudes of the Russians, Chinese and Ecuadoreans are indicative of the respect our country has developed over the past 4 years. We need to lead from in front and provide options to our friends and adversaries that we their respect if they want us to respect them and their laws. Leading from behind has resulted in us giving up our respect, influence and world view for hope that they will not harm us. So far over the past four years, we have given up our super power status for economics and politics. Giving up our defense super power status is next on Obama's agenda. Following that is the downfall of a great civilization once known as America.
on June 30,2013 | 04:24PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Hey pcman, remember the time a few years ago when the U.S. covered the backs of our allies and they ours. Now, under Pres. Obama we are spying on then and they are pissed off. Wonder what will happen. Maybe our allies will protect Mr. Snowden? Yep, the 1% of Americans now must cover the 99%. There is an interesting book out, "AWOL" by Roth-Douquet & Scgaeffer that provides more info on the volunteer military.
on June 30,2013 | 06:45PM
pcman wrote:
IRT kuroiwa on volunteer military. There are as many complex (multiple issues per person) problems with the all-volunteer force as there are people No two people volunteered for the same reasoning nor do they all like it or dislike for the same reasoning. No doubt there are many problems in the all-volunteer military. Over the past 35 years, I have participated in surveys and programs to improve the all-volunteer military, or to go back to the draft. Women are part of the discussion as solutions and problems. Drafting women and sending them into combat arms are just two issues. There are no simple or perfect answers or solutions. So we have to live with the all-volunteer force until we are faced with another massive attack like Pearl Harbor by an adversary country, not just terrorists. I'll check out "AWOL," thanks.
on July 1,2013 | 06:32AM
inHilo wrote:
Pride goes before the fall.
on July 1,2013 | 05:39AM
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