QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on Saturday the United States had asked him not to grant asylum for former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in a “cordial” telephone conversation he held with US Vice Presi-dent Joe Biden.
Correa said he vowed to respect Washington’s opinion in evaluating the request. The Andean nation says it cannot begin processing Snowden’s request unless he reaches Ecuador or one of its embassies.
Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details about U.S. communications surveillance programs, is believed to still be at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow after leaving Hong Kong.
Praising Biden’s good manners in contrast to “brats” in the U.S. Congress who had threatened to cut Ecuador’s trade benefits over the Snowden issue, Correa said during his weekly television broadcast: “He communicated a very courteous request from the United States that we reject the (asylum) request.”
Biden initiated the phone call, Correa said.
“When he (Snowden) arrives on Ecuadorean soil, if he arrives … of course, the first opinions we will seek are those of the United States,” Correa said.