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Bolivian leader threatens to close US embassy after plane scandal

Morales and his supporters were outraged by the move, which they believe occurred under US pressure.

morales 07 02 2013Enlarge
Bolivian President Evo Morales waves from his plane in Vienna on Wednesday. (Patrick Domingo/AFP/Getty Images)

Bolivian leader Evo Morales has threatened to close the American embassy in Bolivia after his plane was grounded in Europe.

The incident saw Morales' plane grounded in Vienna after being refused entry into French, Spanish and Portuguese airspace, apparently as it was believed that Nantional Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was aboard his plane.

The Bolivian president was returning from an energy conference in Russia.

While in Vienna, Morales' plane was searched by authorities.

Morales and his supporters were outraged by the move, which they believe occurred under US pressure.

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"We don't need a US embassy in Bolivia," he said, according to AFP. "My hand would not shake to close the US embassy. We have dignity, sovereignty. Without the United States, we are better politically, democratically."

Bolivia said it will file a formal complaint with the United Nations and discussed the incident at a meeting of Latin American leaders in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

France has since apologized for what it called "conflicting information" that led to the grounding. France's president said that he allowed the plane to pass as soon as he knew Morales was aboard.

Russia has condemned the move by the European nations, saying it was not a "friendly step."

Bolivia is calling the incident a "virtual kidnapping."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/bolivia/130705/bolivian-leader-threatens-close-us-embassy-after-plane