QUITO (AFP) – Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, whose government has mulled an asylum request from US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, said Monday the fugitive's bid for sanctuary in Russia could resolve the standoff.
"My opinion is that the request to the Russian government could definitely resolve Mr. Snowden's situation," Correa told AFP in an interview after Moscow announced that it received a political asylum application from Snowden.
Correa reiterated that his government cannot process Snowden's asylum request because he is not on Ecuadoran territory. Snowden has been holed up in legal limbo in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for more than a week.
"The moment he arrives at our embassy, we can process it there," said Correa, whose announcement last week that he would study Snowden's asylum request had angered Washington, which has filed espionage charges against the fugitive.
Correa meanwhile said he had urged the founder of the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, to stop speaking in Ecuador's name.
"The conduct of Assange has bothered me a little and this morning I spoke with the foreign minister (Ricardo Patino) to tell him not to speak about our country's situations," Correa said.
Ecuador has sheltered Assange at its embassy in London since August 2012 and the Australian's organization has been assisting Snowden in his flight from US justice.
Last week, Assange told reporters that Ecuador had given Snowden, whose passport was revoked by the United States, a refugee travel document, but Correa said Saturday that his London consul had made a decision beyond his rank by issuing the paper.