Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa says the fate of NSA leaker Edward Snowden is in Russia’s hands.
Snowden, who is seeking asylum in Ecuador, is holed up in the Moscow airport unable to leave until his request is sorted out.
Earlier in the week, Ecuador said that the document obtained at the consulate in London that supposedly allowed him entry into the country, is invalid.
Correa says that his country cannot offer asylum to Snowden, who is accused of the biggest leak of classified information in US history, until he reaches Ecuadorean soil or the Ecuador Embassy.
The former National Security Agency contractor has not been able to leave Moscow’s airport in fear that he will be snagged by the US. The White House and Kremlin have toned down the heated rhetoric that ensued when Snowden was allowed safe passage by Moscow.
In an interview with Reuters, President Correa said:
“It’s up to the Russian authorities if he can leave the Moscow airport for an Ecuadorean embassy.”
“He will be treated just like any other citizen even though he does not have a passport. We are clear that this is a special situation.”
Correa said that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is still being supported in his quest to gain asylum in Ecuador. Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
Assange added to the confusion in Snowden’s asylum request when he attempted to help the former NSA contractor obtain the invalid safe passage document while he was in London.
“In these crises when there is need to respond with urgency, it’s also possible to make mistakes, but Mr. Assange continues to enjoy our support, respect and appreciation,” Correa said.
The US is seeking Snowden’s extradition to face charges that he leaked top secret information to the media. If he were to return to the US, Edward Snowden would face serious charges including espionage.
It is reported that Ecuador’s President has sent his best wishes to Snowden and suggested he keep his spirits high.