During Edward Snowden’s speech before human rights groups at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow Friday, he announced his formal acceptance all support and asylum offers extended to him.
The former National Security Agency contractor asked for Russia to grant him temporary asylum on Friday, but during his meeting with human rights groups he also announced his formal acceptance of the support and asylum offered to him.
“I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future,” said Snowden, according to the full transcript of the event released by WikiLeaks.
“With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum,” said Snowden.
Venezuela is seen as the likely choice Snowden will make for his final destination, although Snowden was also offered asylum by both Bolivia and Nicaragua.
Snowden is appealing to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
“This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” it continues.
“As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today,” said Snowden.
“This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights,” he said.
He also counted Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador among the countries he intends to travel to personally thank their people and their leaders for their support.
Life News, a Russian news outlet, snagged a secretly recorded video from the conference. At several points, he was interrupted by announcements over the airport loudspeakers.
“I’ve heard this many times over the past couple of weeks,” he jokingly told the audience.
White House press secretary Jay Carney criticized Russia on Friday for “providing a propaganda platform.”
USA Today reports that the White House, in a statement, said, “The President expressed his disappointment and concern with China’s handling of the Snowden case.”