Mercosur Countries Denounce U.S. Espionage

Leaders of Mercosur countries pose for a group photo in Asuncion

Foreign ministers from the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), a South American trading block, expressed concern over alleged US spying activities on them. "We are here mandated by our heads of state who met in Monte Video at the Mercosur summit to express our serious concern of espionage allegations that have come out of Mr. Snowden's allegations," Antonio Patriota, the foreign minister of Brazil, told reporters here. "This is something that has great implications for our region and our world," he said, after their meeting with UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon earlier on Monday. "Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon shared these concerns and he reacted in a way that shows sensitivity to the message we have conveyed from our heads of state," said Foreign Minister Elias Jaua of Venezuela, who is also the rotating president of the block. More specifically we also raise the serious implications regarding the denial for the aircraft carrying President Morales of Bolivia to land in a number of European countries, Patriota said. The plane, which was flying Morales back to Bolivia on July 2 from a multilateral meeting in Moscow, was forced to land in Vienna, Austria where it remained grounded for several hours, after Italy, France, Portugal and Spain all denied the plane access on suspicion that it was carrying US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden. "This is also unprecedented and this raises serious questions with respect to the necessary respect that one should show to heads of states and government. In this case..

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