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  • Updated: 7:06pm
Edward Snowden
NewsWorld

Edward Snowden's plan to seek sanctuary in Ecuador is falling apart

As whistle-blower waits in limbo, Ecuadorean frustration at the 'grandstanding' of ally Julian Assange has put in doubt his quest for asylum

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 June, 2013, 9:07pm
 

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The plan to spirit whistle-blower Edward Snowden to sanctuary in Latin America appears to be falling apart amid tension between Ecuador's government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

President Rafael Correa halted a bid to help Snowden leave Russia amid concerns Assange was usurping the role of the Ecuadorean government, according to leaked diplomatic correspondence.

He declared invalid a temporary travel document which could have helped extract Snowden from his reported location in Moscow.

Correa declared that the safe conduct pass issued by Ecuador's London consul - in collaboration with Assange - was unauthorised. Other Ecuadorean diplomats privately said the WikiLeaks founder could be perceived as "running the show".

Yesterday Correa said he had spoken with US Vice-President Joe Biden about Snowden, and that Biden had asked Ecuador to reject the fugitive intelligence leaker's asylum request.

Correa said the conversation took place on Friday and that Biden "passed on a polite request from the United States to reject the request".

According to the leaked diplomatic correspondence, obtained by the broadcaster Univision and shared with The Wall Street Journal, divisions over Assange have annoyed Ecuador's government.

The country's ambassador to the US, Nathalie Cely, told presidential spokesman Fernando Alvarado that Ecuador's role in the drama was being overshadowed by the WikiLeaks founder, who has sheltered in Ecuador's London embassy for the past year to avoid extradition.

"I suggest talking to Assange to better control the communications. From outside, [Assange] appears to be running the show."

Earlier last week, a senior foreign diplomat in the capital, Quito, told The Guardian that some - though not all - factions in the government were annoyed with what they saw as Assange's "grandstanding".

In a message attributed to Assange sent to Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, and top officials, the WikiLeaks founder apologised "if we have unwittingly [caused] Ecuador discomfort in the Snowden matter".

The note continued: "There is a fog of war due to the rapid nature of events. If similar events arise, you can be assured that they do not originate in any lack of respect or concern for Ecuador or its government."

Assange appears to have had a strong role in obtaining the travel document for Snowden, dated June 22. It bore the printed name, but not the signature, of the London consul, Fidel Narvaez, a confidante. By mid-week Narvaez was reportedly in Moscow.

The document could have helped Snowden, whose US passport has been revoked, leave the transit lounge of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, where he has reportedly holed up since fleeing Hong Kong last weekend.

On Thursday, Correa - who has previously hailed Snowden for exposing US spying and has earned kudos for defying Washington pressure over the affair - appeared to belittle Snowden's chances of making it to Quito.

Declaring the travel document invalid at a press conference, he said Ecuador would not consider an asylum request unless Snowden reached Ecuadorean territory.

"The situation of Mr Snowden is a complex situation and we don't know how he will solve it," Correa said.

But he ramped up defiance of the US by waiving preferential trade rights to thwart what officials called Washington "blackmail". Analysts said Correa had skilfully extracted political capital from the saga without drawing US retaliation.

Additional reporting by Reuters, Agence France-Presse

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the sun also rises
Seeking refuge in that tiny nation---Ecuador which depends heavily on us economically ? Naive enough ! Wouldn't the Russians let him leave ? Certainly not ! Lingering in the limbo transit zone in that Moscow Airport for, say, 10 years or more maybe ! ha ! ha !
the sun also rises
Yeah,the real target of this Big Brother is no one but the WikiLeaks headed by this rascal---Assange who is hiding himself in the embassy of Ecuador in London.This 29-year-old hacker named Edward J.Snowden is just a chess piece only.He is being controlled by his boss, Assange in this whole story (no saga at all ).As for our revolted traitor---Private Manning is also a chess piece of Assange too. This Big Brother hate them all ! I really do !
robert.stahl.98
Right now, propaganda 'moves' military engagements. All wars are fought with boots on the ground. Wikileaks is in court, not Manning (et alia). Assange is locked up and removed from the trial that is his. Cats are being skinned in the news daily identifying the innocent if anyone cared to look. Manning is 'evil' in that he is associated with Wikileaks, all BS. Please read Arthur Silber, Chris Floyd, and Paul Craig Roberts.
The war at this moment has one goal, to take down Wikileaks. That is it. With everything you hear, ask yourself just, "What cat is being skinned, really?" Wikileaks is it, now. Arthur Silber is quoted in recent propaganda taking this out of context. So, he is probably next. Against the Death State, how much information is too much information!? Nature never denied the commonwealth, man did.
the sun also rises
I just don't think that the small nation,Eucador can never survive without its exports to America.Instead it can sell its products to other countries nearby or even China who is too eager to do more buisnesses with Central and South America. The dignity and sovereignty of a country is far more important than so-called import preferentail tax offered by the US to Ecuador which will expire next month.The President of Ecuador recently said that he would rather considering the political asylum case of whistle-blower,Mr.Snowden than having the special favour from the States which bossy attitude and arrogance can never be tolerated by most nations in the world ! 'We won't reward those countries which behave badly !' How touching and righteous it sounds !' There are many importes around the world besides the Big Brother----Uncle Sam,that is for sure !
bluefirestorm
Such irony that this news report involving Wikileaks, Assange, and Snowden is based on a "leaked" diplomatic cable.
Ecuador has a lot more at stake with a lot of its petroleum and banana and other fruit exports go to the US. With Assange, not much was at stake as they didn't have much trade with Australia anyway (just slightly over A$31 million in 2012). I would think the trade volume with UK and Sweden would be in a similar range or even lower given its distance.
It would be irresponsible for the Ecuadorian government to put at risk its economy and the welfare of its people in exchange for one fugitive of US law.
John Adams
Full marks to the SCMP for its coverage of the Snowden affair
Please keep up the intensive reporting
KwunTongBypass
S C M P = S oftcore C ommunist M outh P iece ???
the sun also rises
Shame of this so-called 'Quirkafleeg' which is itself a nasty name to the extreme, I'm sorry to say.Don't forget,the SCMP was one of the media that Snowden revealed his top-secet files ! Shame on you and your evil-minded accusation of our respectable SCMP ! Shame on you again ! Go home and embrace your Uncle Sam instead of barking here madly !!
KwunTongBypass
S elf C ensored M alaysian P roduct ???
the sun also rises
Q uit u seless I vy r ubbish k ickoff a men f..... l unatic e el e nd g arbage !
the sun also rises
it looks probably Eucador might not let our leaker-hero,Mr.Snowden to finally settle in that country who is daring and dignified enough to openly reject the import preferential tax offered by US to her to safeguard its sovereignty which her president once said,' our country will not reward those nations which behave badly (implying America's world-wide cybersping program:The Prism).Maybe Snowden has to settle on the soil of Russia for a long time (maybe years) while living in a foreign embassy in Moscow as Mr.Assange does in London's Ecuadoran Embassy !
twtchow
Why is SCMP so obsessed with the Snowden case? Are there no news stories? The jounalistic quality of SCMP has deteriorated significantly.
the sun also rises
it is not 'obsessed with' as you wrongly accused SCMP ! As a newspaper,it has the duty to report on major news which most of its readers,here in Hong Kong or elsewhere are interested in ! Right ?
newgalileo
Thanks to SCMP for following the story. Ignore those who are not pleased with it. Let them read another newspaper, I suggest Global Times.
tennisboy
It seems the SCMP is milking this story to death. I doubt if Edward Snowden remains the biggest interest for Hong Kongers for it to warrant top headlines a week after the man has left the SAR.
the sun also rises
milking to death ? Nonsense ! There are so many stories----real stories for our respectable local Englsih newspaper to report on ? Why should it milk Snowden's saga to death ? You are exaggerating ! Shame on you and your words !
 
 
 
 
 

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