Only Bolivians aboard Morales plane in Vienna: Austria

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 03, 2013 4:58 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - No unauthorized people were found on board Bolivian President Evo Morales' government plane at Vienna airport when Austrian authorities carried out a voluntary inspection, Deputy Chancellor Michael Spindelegger said on Wednesday.

The plane was forced to land in Austria after France and Portugal abruptly canceled air permits for it while en route from Moscow on Tuesday, apparently due to fears fugitive ex-U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden could be on board.

Bolivian and Austrian officials denied this.

"Morales agreed to a voluntary inspection," Spindelegger told reporters at the airport.

"Our colleagues from the airport had a look and can give assurances that no one is on board who is not a Bolivian citizen," Spindelegger added, saying rumors that Snowden might be on board were untrue.

Bolivia's ambassador to the United Nations told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday Austria's decision to search the plane was an act of aggression and a violation of international law.

(Reporting by Angelika Gruber; Writing by Michael Shields; Editing by Alison Williams)