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Ecuador `may take weeks` to decide on Snowden`s asylum request

Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 13:13

London: Ecuador`s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has said that it took two months to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange an asylum in the country and request for asylum by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden may not be addressed sooner.

Snowden who had been hiding in Hong Kong after leaking details about US led `snooping` programme, recently fled to Moscow in a bit to claim asylum in Ecuador so as to escape US extradition.

Assange who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy for over a year had claimed that his WikiLeaks team helped Snowden escape from Hong Kong and knows about his whereabouts.
Assange had said that Snowden was `well` and being accompanied by one of its legal advisers at Moscow`s Sheremetyevo Airport`s transit area, reports BBC.

According to the report, Patino said that Ecuador has not yet decided whether it will provide protection to Snowden by the time a decision is taken about his asylum claim.

In response to the US application for extraditing Snowden to them, Patino said that the US will have to submit its position in writing regarding Snowden and would consider the application `responsibly` and weigh `human rights obligation`.

Meanwhile, Venezuela has also said that it will consider asylum request by Snowden.
Snowden who has been charged with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence, is believed to be still at the Moscow airport`s transit area and hence technically not in Moscow.

Russian president Vladimir Putin had rejected US demands for handing Snowden over and said that Russian authorities will not comply with the US demands and called the US accusations of helping a fugitive as `nonsense` and `rubbish` adding that Snowden is being treated like any other transit passenger.

Patino has said that if Snowden is granted asylum in Ecuador then a decision will be taken about providing him protection.

Recently, the US Secretary of State John Kerry said that if China and Russia are found to have `intentionally` let off Snowden, it may prove `disappointing` and may have diplomatic repercussions.

The chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, has suggested punishing Ecuador economically if it does offer asylum.

He said that he was ready to campaign to end preferential trade access for Ecuador.

Senator Menendez has also called on Russia to stop sheltering Snowden immediately and turn him over to the United States, the report added.


First Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 12:55

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