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Continued: Ecuador president tells AP: Snowden 'under care' of Russia, can't leave Moscow

  • Article by: MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN , Associated Press
  • Last update: June 30, 2013 - 4:49 PM

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

Ecuadorean officials believe Russian authorities stymied the country's efforts to approve a political asylum application from the former NSA systems analyst, according to government officials with direct knowledge of the case.

Those officials said Ecuador had been making detailed plans to receive and host Snowden. One of the officials said Russia's refusal to let Snowden leave or be picked up by Ecuadorean officials had thwarted the plans. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the case by name.

One of the officials said Snowden had intended to travel from Moscow to the Ecuadorean capital of Quito. The official said Ecuador had also asked Russia to let Snowden take a commercial flight to meet Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino in Vietnam or Singapore, where Patino was on an official trip.

The Russians rejected all of Ecuador's requests to let Snowden leave Moscow, or to let an Ecuadorean government plane pick him up there, the official said.

Asked Sunday about those accounts, Correa responded, without elaborating, "We don't have long-range aircraft. It's a joke."

Snowden's path to Ecuador would have gone through Cuba, which said little about the case all week, including whether it would have allowed him to use its territory to transit.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro praised Correa's rejection of U.S. trade pressure, expressing his "sympathies" for the Ecuadorean leader in a Sunday editorial in the state press.

_______ Gonzalo Solano contributed from Quito, Ecuador. Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

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