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Evo Morales Threatens to Close US Embassy over Plane Row

July 05, 2013

Bolivian President Evo Morales threatened to close the U.S. Embassy in La Paz as South American leaders met in Bolivia to show their support for the president whose plane was grounded in Europe amid suspicions that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board.

The presidents of Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela met with Morales Thursday in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. The presidents have demanded an apology from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain for refusing to grant permission for the Bolivian leader's plane to fly through their air space earlier this week.

President Morales has blamed Washington for pressuring European countries to deny his air space requests. His plane was forced to land in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, in what he has called a violation of international law. Authorities determined Snowden was not on his plane and the president was allowed to leave Wednesday.

The Bolivian leader had been in Russia for a meeting, where he said he would consider granting asylum to Snowden.

Bloomberg News reports the South American presidents have called for another meeting on July 12 in Uruguay to further discuss the matter.

Snowden remains out of public view, believed to be stuck in a Moscow airport transit area, seeking asylum from one of more than a dozen countries.

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