News / Europe

Austria Did not Search Morales Jet in Vienna, President Says

An interpreter listens as Bolivian President Evo Morales talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer (L-R) during a news conference at the Vienna International Airport in Schwechat, Austria, July 3, 2013.
An interpreter listens as Bolivian President Evo Morales talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer (L-R) during a news conference at the Vienna International Airport in Schwechat, Austria, July 3, 2013.
Reuters
Austrian officials did not search Bolivia's presidential jet for fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Austria's president said, seeking to defuse a diplomatic tussle over the incident.
    
One airport officer did board the aircraft on Tuesday to find out why it had landed in Vienna reporting technical problems, but "there was no formal inspection," Austrian President Heinz Fischer told Kurier newspaper.
    
Fischer's comments, published on Sunday, appeared aimed at untangling contradictory accounts of how Bolivian President Evo Morales was treated as he flew home from a conference in Moscow last week.
    
Bolivia protested after several European countries refused to allow the aircraft to pass through their airspace, amid speculation Morales was taking Snowden to Latin America.
    
Diplomatic tensions heightened after the plane landed in Vienna and Austrian officials initially said they got official permission to inspect the aircraft for Snowden, who is wanted for leaking details of U.S. surveillance programs. Bolivia insisted no such inspection took place.
    
"Someone from the airport staff sought out the aircraft or the pilot after landing to inquire about the nature of the technical problem," Fischer was quoted as saying.
    
"The Austrian official was advised that the defect was already fixed, and saw on this occasion that the plane was empty... He did not look under the seats. There was no formal inspection, but no other people were found on board," Fischer added.
    
Pressed on whether that meant Austrians had not searched the plane, he said, "There was no search in the forensic sense. There was also no reason to under international law. The plane of a president belongs to 'his territory' and cannot be searched readily."
    
Snowden is believed to be still holed up in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport and has been trying to find a country that would give him sanctuary since he landed there from Hong Kong on June 23.
    
Bolivia on Saturday formally offered Snowden asylum, joining leftist allies Venezuela and Nicaragua in defiance of Washington.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid