News / Europe

France Turns Down Snowden Asylum Request

Snowden requested asylum in several countries
Snowden requested asylum in several countries
VOA News
France is rejecting a request for asylum from fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

A French Interior Ministry statement Thursday says, "Given the legal analysis and the situation of the interested party, France will not agree" to the asylum request.

Meanwhile, there are signs Snowden is an increasingly unwelcome guest after spending the past 11 days in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

The Reuters news agency reports Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Thursday that Snowden "needs to choose a place to go."  His remarks echoed comments by President Vladimir Putin, who has urged Snowden to leave as soon as he can.

Snowden's disclosures about U.S. intelligence gathering have sparked reports that U.S. surveillance programs also are aimed at American allies in Europe and the European Union itself. After complaints by a number of European leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama agreed to hold meetings about the surveillance program. Ms. Merkel said Thursday she believes Germany's concerns are being taken seriously, and she is hopeful the coming talks will bring answers.

At NATO headquarters, alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he has no reason to believe the organization's security was compromised by any U.S. intelligence gathering in Europe.

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