(Reuters) – Bolivia accused Austria of “kidnapping” its president, Evo Morales, on Wednesday after authorities searched his plane during a stop-over in Vienna on suspicion he was taking fugitive U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden to Latin America.
A senior Bolivian diplomat said the Austrians had acted at the bidding of the United States, which has been trying to get its hands on Snowden since he revealed details of its secret surveillance programs last month.
“We’re talking about the president on an official trip after an official summit being kidnapped,” Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Sacha Llorenti Soliz, told reporters in Geneva.
The Bolivian plane, which was bringing Morales home from an energy conference in Moscow, was stranded at Vienna airport for several hours after Portugal and France refused to allow it to fly through their airspace.
The search found that Snowden was not onboard and the plane eventually left Vienna about noon on Wednesday.