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South Americans affirm asylum right in US leak case

South American leaders agreed to a statement here Friday reaffirming the fundamental right of asylum, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Friday amid a test of wills with Washington over the fate of US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. "A doctrinal statement has been ratified to guarantee the right of asylum as a fundamental right," he said at a summit of the South American bloc Mercosur.

S. American leaders back right of asylum amid Snowden case

South American leaders defended the right to offer asylum Friday, pressing home their anger at claims of US spying in the region while intelligence leaker Edward Snowden's fate hangs in the balance. The United States wants Snowden, currently in limbo in Moscow, arrested for disclosing details of Washington's massive electronic intelligence operations around the world. Venezuela, along with leftist allies Bolivia and Nicaragua, have offered Snowden asylum but the 30-year-old American fugitive told rights activists in Moscow on Friday that he would seek asylum in Russia.

UPDATE 3-EU, Mercosur to unblock trade talks, hurdles remain

* Latin American, European leaders meet to deepen trade ties * Europe says time to wrap up long-stalled Mercosur deal * Both sides to present new offers this year to open up markets By Robin Emmott SANTIAGO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - EU leaders won a promise from Argentina and Brazil on Saturday to revive stalled talks on a free-trade deal that would be a major prize for Europe as it emerges from crisis, but disputes over key issues mean a breakthrough appears distant.

FACTBOX-Five facts about EU-Latin American trade

Jan 25 (Reuters) - European Union leaders are meeting their Latin American counterparts this weekend in Santiago to win investments and speed up trade flows to lift Europe's stalled economy. But long-standing disputes make a breakthrough on a Mercosur free-trade pact unlikely. Here are five facts about trade between the EU and Latin America:

Europe faces hurdles at Latin America summit focused on trade

* European Union leaders head to Chile for regional summit * EU seeks to deepen trade ties with buoyant Latin America * Health of Venezuela's Chavez to loom over weekend meeting By Robin Emmott and Alejandro Lifschitz BRUSSELS/SANTIAGO, Jan 25 (Reuters)F - EU leaders take their hunt for economic growth to Latin America this weekend as the bloc tries to emerge from three years of crisis, but a long-stalled free-trade deal with Brazil and Argentina remains distant.
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