After the cancellation of his US passport, Snowden used a temporary Ecuadorean travel document to get to Moscow.

As the former NSA contractor made a personal plea to Quito, the president told the Guardian that Snowden was Russia’s responsibility, and that his government never meant to help Snowden travel from Hong Kong to Moscow.

He said that “It was a mistake on our part”.

“Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia.”

A few hours before Correa’s views were published, the Press Association news agency released a letter by Snowden that thanked the Ecuadorian government for their help. In it, Snowden said that “There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world.”

“The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong – I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.”

Correa expressed that it was the fault of Narvaez, who would be “sanctioned” for his mistake. He added that “The consul, in his desperation, probably he couldn’t reach the foreign minister….and he issued a safe conduct document without validity, without authorisation, without us even knowing.”

For Ecuador to grant Snowden asylum, the president stressed that he must be in the country. Even then, as he told the Independent, “The moment that he arrives, if he arrives, the first thing is we’ll ask the opinion of the United States, as we did in the Assange case with England.”

Snowden is currently holed in Moscow airport, wanted by the US on charges of leaking secrets.

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