LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales on Wednesday accepted apologies offered by France, Spain, Italy and Portugal for the forced rerouting of his flight home from Russia on July 2.
He also announced that the Latin American ambassadors who had been called home for consultations over the incident would return to their posts.
“We accept the apologies of the four countries as a first step, because we want to continue relations between our countries based on respect, relations based on complementarity and solidarity,” Morales said in a statement to reporters.
The head of state added that, in coordination with the governments that called their ambassadors in those European countries home for consultations, “an agreement was reached for the return” of the envoys to the posts.
“I don’t harbor bitterness or resentment. Social movements are not vengeful, especially the indigenous movement I represent,” the Bolivian president, an Aymara Indian, said after a Cabinet meeting.
He said the world was a witness to a violation of diplomatic immunity and again reiterated that the incident was an “act of arbitrary, colonial, unfriendly, humiliating and unacceptable aggression.”
Morales was left temporarily stranded in Austria while returning to Bolivia from Russia after Italy, Portugal and France barred his plane from their airspace, apparently on suspicion that former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden was onboard.
Snowden, wanted by the United States for leaks that exposed the global extent of Washington’s electronic spying, has been stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport since June 23.
Morales also recalled his ambassador to Spain because that country’s envoy to Austria, Alberto Carnero, wanted to inspect the plane while it was on the tarmac in Vienna to verify whether or not Snowden was inside.
The president expressed thanks again Wednesday to Bolivia’s regional neighbors for the unity they demonstrated in the wake of the incident. EFE