Bolivian Anger Over 'Snowden Flight' Diversion

Created: 2013-07-03 07:39 EST

Category: World > Europe

The fallout over Edward Snowden, wanted by the U.S. for espionage, took a new twist in the skies over Europe.

A plane carrying Bolivia's president home from Russia was forced to divert to an Austrian airport as he headed home from an official visit to Russia.
The reason? France and Portugal both denied Evo Morales entry to their air space because of rumours Snowden might be on board.
[Evo Morales, Bolivian President]: 
"We're waiting. Surely there are consultations going on."
Outside the French embassy in La Paz angry supporters said Morales' life had been put at risk.
[Leonilda Zuirta, Woman Farmers' Union Member]: 
"Firstly, we're very angry, concerned about an attempt on President Evo Morales' life."
Bolivia's vice-president said it amounted to kidnap.
[Alvaro Gracia Linera, Bolivia's Vice President]: 
"This is in absolute violation of the Vienna Convention, which says that flights of world presidents cannot be obstructed and have immunity. A couple of European governments prohibited the plane of President Evo from passing through their air space."
Bolivia's defence minister said on Wednesday that France and Portugal had now reconsidered but that Italy and Spain were now refusing consent to fly over their airspace.
Snowden's wanted by the U.S. for divulging classified details of its secret phone and internet surveillance programmes.
The former U.S. spy agency contractor is in legal limbo at this Moscow airport while countries to whom he's applied for asylum make a decision.