PARIS (AFP) – France said on Thursday it was rejecting a request for asylum from fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
"Like many countries, France received a request for asylum from Mr. Edward Snowden through its embassy in Moscow. Given the legal analysis and the situation of the interested party, France will not agree," the interior ministry said in a statement.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls had earlier Thursday said France had not yet received a request for asylum from Snowden, but that he was personally opposed to granting it.
"This request, if it is made, poses a number of legal problems. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not in favour," Valls told BFMTV, saying: "The United States is a democratic country, with an independent judicial system."
Snowden has been holed up in a Moscow airport transit area since June 23, seeking to avoid US espionage charges for revealing a vast surveillance programme to collect phone and Internet data. He has requested asylum in 21 countries.