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US Urges Ecuador to Deny Snowden Asylum

June 29, 2013

by VOA News

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has spoken to Ecuador's president about Edward Snowden, the fugitive former intelligence contractor who is seeking asylum in Ecuador.

President Rafael Correa says Biden asked him to reject the asylum request from Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking information about secret surveillance programs.

President Correa revealed details of his conversation with Biden during his weekly address on Saturday. Correa said he spoke to the vice president on Friday.

White House officials say Biden discussed Snowden's case with Correa but declined to provide details.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then disclosed key documents about the surveillance programs being conducted by the secretive National Security Agency to thwart terrorism.

Earlier this month he flew to Moscow and is believed to be staying in a transit zone at the airport, while seeking asylum in Ecuador.

Officials in Ecuador have said they cannot consider any asylum request from Snowden unless he is in the country.

Ecuador granted refuge to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains in the country's embassy in London.

President Correa said what the U.S. should do is focus more on explaining its surveillance programs than on catching Snowden.

On Friday, Snowden's father, Lonnie, told NBC's Today show that he believed his son, under certain conditions, would be willing to return home to face espionage charges.

Lonnie Snowden said his son might be willing to return if the U.S. promised to let him be free in advance of the trial, not prohibit him from speaking publicly about the case and let him choose where he would be tried.

The elder Snowden said he believed his son had broken U.S. law, but added that he did not think his son was guilty of treason.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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