MOSCOW, July 6 (RIA Novosti) - The recent decision by a number of European countries to close their airspace to Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane was made on an order from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), media quoted the Venezuelan president as saying.
“A very important minister told us that it was the CIA that contacted the authorities of Portugal, Italy and France to have their airspace closed to President Morales,” President Nicolas Maduro was quoted as saying by Venezuelan national news agency AVN.
Bolivia accused France, Italy, Spain and Portugal of violating international law after a plane carrying Morales was diverted Tuesday and searched Wednesday over suspicions that it might have fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden on board.
Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said Morales’ plane taking him home after an energy meeting in Moscow had been forced to land in Austria after France and Portugal revoked permission for the plane to enter their airspace.
The incident provoked a diplomatic scandal: the leaders of Bolivia and other South American nations demanded explanations.
France later apologized to Bolivia for closing its airspace to Morales.
Snowden is believed to be holed up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. A former contractor for the US National Security Agency, he is wanted by the United States for disclosing a top-secret surveillance program that allegedly targeted millions of Americans.