Spain ‘would apologize’ to Bolivian president

Spain 'would apologize' to Bolivian president
Spain's Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo insists that Spain did nothing wrong but would apologize for any misunderstanding. Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP
Spain's Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, said on Tuesday he has no objection to apologizing to Bolivia "if there has been any misunderstanding" over last week's incident which saw Bolivian President Evo Morales's jet refused permission to fly over a number of European countries.

Margallo insisted that Spain had not closed its airspace to Morales as he travelled from Moscow, Russia, to La Paz, Bolivia, nor endangered his life.

The Bolivian president's plane was eventually forced to land in Vienna, Austria, where it was detained for 13 hours.

The incident was the result of a rumour that fugitive American 'IT Spy' Edward Snowden was also travelling on board, according to Spanish daily El País.

Snowden is currently holed up at Moscow airport seeking to avoid US espionage charges after leaking embarrassing details of a vast US phone and Internet surveillance programme.

Morales had been in Russia at an energy conference and was returning home to Bolivia when his flight was diverted to Austria.

Margallo said, "if there has been any misunderstanding then naturally we will say that we are sorry."

The foreign minister's words represent a step back from Spain's stance at last week's Union of South American Nations meeting when Margallo declared that the country had nothing to apologize for.

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