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Latin American leaders to meet over Snowden plane row

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bolivia's president said Thursday it was not enough for Europeans to apologize after his plane was rerouted over concerns that US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard, as leftist Latin American leaders prepared a joint response.

Evo Morales arrived home late Wednesday from a long layover in Vienna, saying his plane was diverted there because it was denied access to the airspace of four European nations, sparking outrage among Latin American leaders.

"Apologies from a country that did not let us pass over its territory are not enough," Morales said before talks with fellow leaders in the central city of Cochabamba. "Some governments apologized, saying it was an error, but this was not an error."

Presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Cristina Kirchner of Argentina, Jose Mujica of Uruguay and Desi Bouterse of Suriname are expected to attend the meeting, the Bolivian government said.

The leaders will give their "unconditional support" over the "disproportionate and unfair aggression by the United States and its European allies," said Juan Ramon Quintana, Bolivia's minister of the presidency.

Bolivian officials accused France, Portugal, Italy and Spain of denying entry to Morales's jet late Tuesday as he flew back home from Russia due to "unfounded rumors" Snowden was on board.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, has been holed up in legal limbo in a Moscow airport as he tries to evade US espionage charges after leaking details of a vast US phone and Internet surveillance program.

Morales likened his ordeal to a "13-hour kidnapping" and several Latin American governments condemned the incident.

France since apologized for temporarily refusing entry to Morales's jet, with President Francois Hollande saying there was "conflicting information" about the plane passengers.

Morales warned that he would take international legal action over the incident, saying global treaties were violated.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130704/latin-american-leaders-meet-over-snowden-plane-row