Mercosur expresses concern over U.S. espionage allegations

2013-08-05 23:46:25 GMT2013-08-06 07:46:25(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Foreign ministers from the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), a South American trading block, expressed concern over alleged U.S. 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 U.S. 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 a democratically elected head of state in government from the peaceful region such as ours," Patriota said.

Aside from this, the foreign ministers discussed the state of Haiti, the 50 year embargo that "penalizes" Cuba and the Falkland Islands.

Mercosur, founded in 1991, groups Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Paraguay's membership is currently suspended, while associate member Bolivia has started a full membership process.

The spying allegations were first discussed by the regional political heavy weights in mid-July in Uruguayan capital city, Monte Video, where follow up talks in regard to the Snowden incident occurred.

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