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Venezuela reaffirms Snowden asylum offer


Venezuela's foreign minister on Tuesday reaffirmed his government's offer of asylum to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, in comments made public by his office here.

Jaua was asked about the offer in an interview in New York with Russian-based RT television network.

"Of course, President (Nicolas) Maduro, in keeping with our right under international law ... decided to grant this asylum to a citizen who requested it, explaining that he felt persecuted politically by his government," Jaua said, in an excerpt released by the foreign ministry.

Russia last week granted Snowden a year's temporary asylum, allowing him to leave the Moscow airport where he had been stranded for five weeks in a cat-and-mouse game with Washington.

The former US intelligence contractor is wanted by the United States for revealing the existence of secret US electronic surveillance programs that scoop up phone and Internet data on a global scale.

Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia had said they would offer Snowden asylum, but the logistics of getting him to Latin America without US interference appeared to foreclose that option.