MONTEVIDEO (AFP) – US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has yet to reply to Venezuela's offer of asylum and there has been no contact with the fugitive, Venezuelan foreign Minister Elias Jaua told AFP on Thursday.
"Not yet," Jaua said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Mercosur trade bloc in Montevideo when asked if Caracas had received a response to the offer.
He added that his government has had no contact with Snowden, who is believed to have been stranded at Moscow's international airport since June 23.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered "humanitarian asylum" to Snowden last week and said Monday that it was up to the fugitive to decide if and when he wants to fly to Caracas.
A top Russian lawmaker close to the Kremlin, Alexei Pushkov, sparked confusion on Tuesday when he tweeted that Snowden had accepted Venezuela's offer, only to delete his post 30 minutes later.
The WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website, which has been assisting Snowden, said after the tweet that the 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor had "not yet formally accepted asylum in Venezuela."
Foreign ministers of Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela, met Thursday before presidents of the group hold a summit in Montevideo on Friday.
Jaua said earlier that Mercosur leaders would release a resolution to denounce the diversion of the jet carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales in Europe last week.
The statement will also mention espionage and asylum, he said amid concern in Latin American over a report of widespread US spying in the region.
Morales, who accused four European nations of denying their airspace because they believed Snowden was hiding on his plane, has been invited to the Mercosur summit.
"The president will present the position that some action must be taken against these colonial practices that have been seen in recent days, especially in European countries," Communications Minister Amanda Davila told Bolivian radio.