June 24 - Ecuador's foreign minister says U.S. leaker Edward Snowden's plea for asylum will be 'analysed'. Paul Chapman reports.
Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino isn't saying what his country's response will be to a request for asylum by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish/English) ECUADOR FOREIGN MINISTER RICARDO PATINO SPEAKING IN SPANISH WITH TRANSLATION IN ENGLISH, SAYING: "Let us end speculation, we will make the decision in time. We are analysing it with a lot of responsibility and taking good care of it. Because it has to do with the freedom of expression, with the security of citizens around the world, we have to analyse it deeply and also in confidence.". Snowden, who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programmes, flew from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday despite Washington's calls for his arrest. A Hong Kong lawyer representing Snowden says he was told to go. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HONG KONG LEGISLATOR, ALBERT HO, SAYING: "The information was passed to Snowden through this middle person that he was asked to leave Hong Kong and he was given assurance that he could leave Hong Kong without being stopped at the airport." While Ecuador considers Snowden's plea for asylum some at Quito international airport weren't keen he should get it. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) MARCELO SALAZAR, BUSINESSMAN, SAYING: "I don't think those people should enter our country. I think they should be judged in their own countries." Snowden was expected to fly to Cuba on Monday while he awaits Ecuador's decision. The developments are a major embarrassment for President Barack Obama. He''s trying to reset ties with Russia and build a partnership with China. The leaders of both have recently met him for talks yet were still willing to snub him over Snowden.