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Bolivia Becomes Third Country Saying It Would Grant Snowden Asylum

The president of Bolivia has joined two other South American countries in saying he would give asylum to fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Bolivia's Evo Morales said on July 6 that he would grant asylum if Snowden requested it.

Morales was at the center of an international incident this week when European states denied his airplane overflight rights, forcing him to make an unscheduled stop in Vienna. Morales blamed U.S. pressure for the embarrassing episode.

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Venezuela and Nicaragua said earlier that they were willing to take in Snowden, who reported applying for asylum in at least 21 countries.

President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela was ready to grant “humanitarian” asylum so Snowden could avoid prosecution in the United States.

President Daniel Ortega said Nicaragua would be willing to give asylum to Snowden "if circumstances permit." Ortega said Nicaragua had received an asylum application for Snowden at its Moscow embassy.

Snowden, whose passport has been revoked by the United States, is believed to have been staying for the past two weeks in the transit section of an international airport in Moscow.

Russia has indicated that it does not see any reason why it should return Snowden to U.S. custody.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP