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French official lashes out at US at July 4 party, in latest clash over Snowden leaks

June 9, 2013: This photo provided by The Guardian shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the U.S. National Security Agency, in Hong Kong.AP

As NSA leaker Ed Snowden struggles to find a country that will take him, the case continues to cause diplomatic headaches for the U.S. government. 

In the latest flare-up, France's top security official on Thursday publicly dressed down the U.S. at the American ambassador's July 4 garden party. 

Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who was a guest of honor at the event hosted by Ambassador Charles Rivkin, denounced alleged U.S. "espionage" of France and other countries, while the European Parliament voted to open an investigation. 

In a speech before hundreds of guests, he said that "in the name of our friendship, we owe each other honesty. We must say things clearly, directly, frankly." He said the alleged spy tactics, "if proven, do not have their place between allies and partners." 

The European suspicion is the product of yet another news story presumably based on material leaked by Snowden, who continues to evade arrest by staying in the transit zone of the Moscow airport. 

After a Guardian report last week detailed alleged U.S. monitoring of European allies, President Obama and other administration officials have tried to assuage concerns, saying they'll take up the issue directly with the Europeans. 

But while the administration tries to smooth over that issue, it's dealing with outraged Latin American leaders over an incident involving Bolivian President Evo Morales. 

On Tuesday, Morales' presidential plane had to make an unplanned stopover in Austria, apparently over suspicions that Snowden was onboard. His government said France, Spain and Portugal all refused to let it through their airspace, forcing it to land in the Austrian capital. 

Bolivian government officials have repeatedly said they believe that Washington was behind the incident, as Bolivia is one of the 21 countries Snowden applied to for asylum. 

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said that the presidents of Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Suriname and possibly Uruguay were attending meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on Thursday to discuss the matter. 

Neither Bolivia nor Venezuela has publicly rejected Snowden's asylum request. The incident in Austria could make them more amenable to working with Snowden. 

But a number of other countries were, one by one, turning Snowden down. According to Reuters, Italy's foreign minister on Thursday said it could not grant Snowden's asylum request to their country because he is not on their soil. This follows a string of rejections from other countries on Monday and Tuesday. 

According to Reuters, Russia is also losing patience with Snowden. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reportedly said Snowden should find another place to seek refuge. 

"He needs to choose a place to go," Ryabkov told Reuters. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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