Russian Official: Venezuela ‘Last Chance’ For Snowden To Get Asylum

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In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A top Russian official says that Venezuela could be National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s “last chance” at achieving political asylum.

Snowden, who has been holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for two weeks after leaving Hong Kong, was offered asylum by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Friday. Bolivia and Nicaragua have also offered asylum to Snowden.

Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee in Russia’s parliament, urged Snowden to accept Venezuela’s offer.

“Venezuela is waiting for an answer from Snowden. This, perhaps, is his last chance to receive political asylum,” Pushkov posted on his Twitter account, according to The Associated Press.

Snowden has been unable to leave the Moscow airport after the U.S. State Department annulled his passport.

Russia said Thursday that Snowden needs to find another country to seek refuge in.

“He needs to choose a place to go,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Reuters. “As of this moment, we do not have a formal application from Mr. Snowden asking for asylum in the Russian Federation.”

Snowden is charged with violating U.S. espionage laws for leaking information about NSA surveillance of Internet and telephone records to detect terrorist plots.

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(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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