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Bolivia leader accepts European apologies over airspace block

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bolivian President Evo Morales Wednesday accepted apologies from France, Spain, Italy and Portugal for blocking his jet from their airspace over suspicions US fugitive Edward Snowden was on board.

"I want to say that, while we are not completely satisfied, we accept the apologies of the four countries as a first step, because we want to continue relations with the countries," Morales said in a statement.

The leftist president said he was now sending back the ambassadors he had recalled for consultations after the diplomatic row.

But he added Bolivia reserves the right to pursue actions before international organizations that it considers necessary to ensure the incident would not be repeated.

Earlier this month, during a flight home from Moscow, European authorities diverted Morales's plane to Austria and searched it after rumors he had Snowden on board.

The Bolivian government lodged a complaint with the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Commission, arguing that the four European nations violated international air agreements and put the president's life in danger.

The controversy had rippled across the region, with both left and right-leaning governments in Latin America expressing outrage

Bolivia has joined Venezuela and Nicaragua in offering asylum to Edward Snowden, the former IT contractor for the US National Security Agency who publicized details of US surveillance programs and is now on the run from espionage charges.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130724/bolivia-leader-accepts-european-apologies-over-airspace-block