France's foreign minister has indicated the country has dismissed former US National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden's asylum request because “it is not the time”.
Snowden called on French President and former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron to grant him political asylum from the United States, after he's been living in Russia since the 2013 bombshell leaks were released, having first fled from Hong Kong.
"He asked for asylum in France, but also elsewhere, in 2013. At that time, France thought that it was not appropriate, I do not see anything that has changed Thursday, either from a political or a legal point of view," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French TV station CNews on Thursday.
Paris is skittish over the whole issue due to US pressure and what such a move would do to its close relationship with Washington.
The whistleblower, who this week published his memoir, has escaped US prosecution as a guest of Putin's Russia. He previously said he would "love to see" Macron allow him to live in France. Snowden made a first asylum appeal to France in 2013, which was rejected, and another last week.
“I am not asking for a parade. I’m not asking for a pardon,” he said in a recent interview. “What I’m asking for is a fair trial.”
Speaking with France's Inter radio on Monday as part of a press junket to promote his new memoir, the former NSA contractor said "Protecting whistleblowers is not a hostile act," adding "Welcoming someone like me is not an attack on the United States."
"I would like to return to the United States. That is the ultimate goal. But if I'm gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won't provide access to what's called a public interest defense," Snowden told CBS This Morning.
No doubt Snowden has to be dismayed over prospects of leaving Russia given Julian Assange's treatment, who is currently held in reported solitary confinement, often cut off from his own defense lawyers and from regular mail, awaiting a US extradition trial in UK court.