Snowden wants asylum in France: reports

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U.S. intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden wants to claim asylum in France -- a demand to which the French minister of justice gave a favorable answer while the president remains silent, French media reported on Monday.

On Saturday, Snowden told France Inter radio that he hoped President Emmanuel Macron would grant him the right of asylum.

The 36-year-old American, who copied and leaked highly classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor, currently lives in Russia.

"The saddest thing in this whole story is that the only place an American whistle-blower has the chance to be heard is not in Europe but here [in Russia]," said Snowden in his interview with the French radio, broadcast days before his memoir "Permanent Record" will be published simultaneously in some 20 countries.

He recalled that he had already applied for asylum in France in 2013 under former president Francois Hollande.

Later on Saturday, French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet said she was favorable for France to grant asylum to Snowden.

The French presidency then commented that this was only the minister's personal position.

On Monday, Nathalie Loiseau, member of the European Parliament representing La Republique En Marche -- the party founded by Macron -- told French media that she "personally" and "absolutely" supported Snowden's asylum claim.

More than a dozen countries have turned down requests to take in Snowden. The United States accuses the mega leaker of endangering national security.

Giving asylum to Snowden risks a major diplomatic conflict with Washington as well as tensions in military and intelligence cooperation, said France Inter. 

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