Leftist LatAm leaders to meet over Morales jet row

Leftist Latin America leaders are preparing to meet in Bolivia on Thursday following the controversial diversion of President Evo Morales's aircraft in Europe, the government said Wednesday.

Bolivian officials accuse France, Portugal, Italy and Spain of denying entry to Morales's jet late Tuesday as it flew back from Russia after "unfounded rumors" US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was traveling on board.

"Several Latin American presidents are arranging among themselves to meet tomorrow (Thursday) in the city of Cochabamba, starting at noon," Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia said Wednesday.

Among those expected to attend are Ecuador's Rafael Correa, Argentina's Cristina Kirchner, Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, and Uruguay's Jose Mujica, among others, Garcia said, without giving a definitive list of attendees.

Correa earlier announced his intention to promote -- alongside Peruvian President Ollanta Humala -- a summit of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to discuss the incident.

The incident has sparked a bitter row, with Morales saying it "was like a near 13-hour kidnapping" and his government announcing it had lodged a complaint with the United Nations.

Latin American countries have joined in expressing outrage over the incident, with UNASUR demanding "clarification of facts and explanations as may be appropriate."