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Ecuador says need time to consider Snowden asylum request

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Wednesday it would take at least two months for his government to decide on the asylum request from former U.S. national security contractor Edward Snowden.

"It took us two months to make a decision in the case of (Julian) Assange. Do not expect us to make a decision sooner this time," he told reporters during his visit to Kuala Lumpur.

Patino was referring to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who has been in London's Ecuadorian embassy for the past year in an attempt to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he is wanted in an investigation of a sexual offense.

Patino said his government would take into consideration the risks, including possible trade retaliation from the United States, on whether to grant asylum to Snowden.

"When we make a decision, we will consider" all the risks, he said.

Snowden, 30, has been on the run after revealing U.S. Internet and phone surveillance. He was in Hong Kong when the scandal broke and left for Moscow on Sunday.

He had been expected to continue his journey to Cuba and possibly Ecuador, which has promised to consider granting him asylum.

Snowden was not seen on a flight departing Moscow for Havana and Hong Kong's TVB reported that Belarus has offered Snowden asylum.

Patino said he is unaware of where is Snowden.

Assange, who reportedly helped Snowden leave Hong Kong, has said Snowden is "in a safe place."

==Kyodo

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-international/130626/ecuador-says-need-time-consider-snowden-asylum-request