VIENNA – Bolivia on Wednesday accused the United States of trying to “kidnap” its president, Evo Morales, after his plane was denied permission to fly over some European countries then inspected at Vienna airport on suspicion he was taking fugitive U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden to Latin America, according to Reuters.
Snowden was not on the plane and is still believed to be stranded in the transit lounge of a Moscow airport. The United States has been trying to get its hands on him since he revealed details of its secret surveillance programs last month.
Bolivia said the incident, in which the plane was denied permission to fly over France and Portugal before making an stop-over in Vienna, was an act of aggression and a violation of international law.
The White House declined to comment on the Bolivian assertion.
The furor was the latest twist in a saga which has raised debate over the balance between privacy rights and national security. Revelations of U.S. surveillance on European countries have also strained trans-Atlantic relations.
France on Wednesday said free-trade talks between the European Union and the United States should be delayed by two weeks given tensions over media reports stemming from the Snowden case that Washington is spying on the 28-nation bloc.