France apologizes to Bolivia over Snowden mix up
July 4 , 2013
France issued an apology to Bolivia on Wednesday for refusing to allow President Evo Morales' jet into its airspace, citing "conflicting information".
Bolivia has accused France, Italy, Spain and Portugal of banning the plane from entering its airspace over allegations that US surveillance whisteblower Edward Snowden was on board.
Speaking in Berlin, French President Francois Hollande said he had granted permission as soon as he learnt it was Morales' plane.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot added: "The foreign minister called his Bolivian counterpart to tell him about France's regrets after the incident caused by the late confirmation of permission for President Morales' plane to fly over (French) territory.”
Morales was flying back to Bolivia from Moscow when his plane was forced to land in Vienna.
Austrian officials said they had searched the plane with Morales's permission and were satisfied that Snowden was not on board.
Snowden is still believed to be in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where he is seeking asylum in several countries, including Bolivia.