File this one under "no one ever would have guessed." Reuters reports:
(Reuters) - Spain acknowledged on Tuesday that a U.S. request had led it to delay approving an overflight by Bolivia's president, but said it had given the go-ahead after receiving an assurance from Bolivia that U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden was not on the plane.The story goes on:
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo was asked by reporters whether the alert had come from the United States. He replied: "Inter alia (among other things)."Not a surprise, but it is helpful to finally have confirmation of the fact that the USA was the point of origin for the tip that Snowden was on Morales's plane. Washington, of course, has not commented.
He also confirmed the account of Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, who said on Sunday that Garcia-Margallo had asked Bolivia for a written assurance that Snowden was not on the plane before opening its airspace.
The Spanish Foreign Minister also issued an apology:
"If any misunderstanding has taken place, I don't have any objection to saying sorry to President Morales."I feel like this apology sounds a little more sincere and a little less awkward in the original Spanish:
"Si hay algún malentendido, yo no tengo ningún inconveniente en pedir disculpas al presidente."Nevertheless, take that apology for what it is -- not a complete admission of responsibility nor an acknowledgement that everything Bolivia alleges is true.
(The link above leads to La Razon, one of Bolivia's major daily newspapers, based out of La Paz. If you read Spanish and want to experience how this story is being treated in Bolivia and how this ongoing issue is playing out from the Bolivian perspective, I highly recommend checking out that newspaper).
Spain's statement was in response to Bolivia's summoning of the ambassadors of Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy to explain their roles in the plane incident.
As you may recall, France issued an apology for its role a few days ago.
Anyway, this is where the ongoing saga of the Bolivian plane fiasco stands as of today. I do not think that this story will be going away any time soon, as Bolivia will continue to press for clarity on what Washington's exact role was here.
Update 17:00 PDT: Just a reminder, we heard a few days ago that Die Presse from Austria was reporting that the US ambassador to Austria told the Austrian government with "certainty" that Snowden was on Morales's plane. So this statement from Spain is, of course, not the first piece of evidence of Washington's involvement.