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Venezuela still awaiting Snowden’s acceptance

Protesters supporting Snowden hold a photo of him during a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong KongMOSCOW — Former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has not yet formally accepted asylum in Venezuela, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said yesterday after a Russian lawmaker posted a statement to that effect on Twitter and then deleted it.

WikiLeaks, on its own Twitter feed, said that states involved in deciding an asylum destination for Snowden, who fled the United States last month, “will make the announcement if and when the appropriate time comes”.

On its Twitter feed, Wikileaks later said: “Tomorrow the first phase of Edward Snowden’s ‘Flight of Liberty’ campaign will be launched. Follow for further details.”

The group did not immediately provide any further information.

Snowden, who is wanted in the United States on espionage charges after revealing details of secret surveillance programs, is believed to be holed up in the transit area at a Moscow airport where he arrived on June 23 from Hong Kong.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday that he had decided to offer the 30-year-old American asylum, but his government confirmed it had heard nothing back so far.

“He has to be on Venezuelan territory … The reality is that he is trapped in the airport’s transit zone,” Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told reporters in Caracas yesterday.

Nicaragua and Bolivia also have said they would take in Snowden, who has appealed to about 20 countries for asylum. (Reuters)

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