HANOI, June 24 (Itar-Tass) - Ecuador is considering the issue of granting political asylum to former CIA officer Edward Snowden and stays in contact with Russia over his presence in Moscow, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told a press conference in Hanoi.
Snowden is in Moscow at present, Patino said.
The minister did not say when an answer would be given to Snowden's application. He only noted that the issue would be settled in accordance with the constitution of Ecuador.
Edward Snowden remains in the transit zone at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, an airport security source told Itar-Tass.
Snowden did not fly out on the Aeroflot flight to Havana and did not leave the transit zone, he said.
Snowden was expected to take the flight to Havana on Monday, and from Havana to fly to a Latin American country that will agree to grant political asylum to him. Ecuador is among such countries.
The Aeroflot airliner has flown out for Havana from Sheremetyevo without him. The plane took off at 14:45 Moscow time. Reporters who were on duty at the airport said they did not see him boarding, and passengers who took their seats aboard the plane also said they did not see him. According to earlier reports, Snowden was registered for the flight. However, he did not appear in the plane. The liner took off 40 minutes later than scheduled.
Thirty-year-old Snowden was a technical specialist working at the CIA. Recently he made public information about two top secret programmes of the U.S. National Security Agency that tapped telephone calls and various kinds of communication through the Internet in the United States. Snowden worked at one of major American consulting companies in Hawaii. He worked for the National Security Agency there.
Snowden escaped to Hong Kong, from where he flew to Moscow on Sunday.
Diplomatic sources in Moscow confirmed Snowden did not receive a Russian visa and he was expected to wait for the next flight at the airport.