QUITO, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Tuesday his government is relieved that Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered political asylum to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden who first requested asylum from Quito.
"Ecuador continues to consider it, of course, we have said we have not rejected it, but we really are relieved to know that three sister countries have explicitly offered Snowden asylum and that we are going to share the burden," Patino told local radio.
"Yes, we are relieved, because we are concerned for his ( Snowden's) life, for his security ... he has revealed very important things," said Patino, referring to ongoing revelations of U.S.' global spying programs, originally leaked to select media outlets by Snowden, who is now wanted by Washington on charges of espionage and stealing classified government documents.
Patino described Snowden as "brave," and said granting him asylum was justified on the grounds that "he was loyal to the citizens of the world" by unmasking Washington's mass surveillance schemes.
"That is what we have to underscore, he did not betray the trust of the world, the security of the world. What he has done is to warn us of what was happening and allow us to at some point prevent the continued violation of the right to the privacy and confidentiality of correspondence," the minister said.
"All of the countries around the world are being mercilessly spied on," said Patino.
Snowden first requested asylum from Ecuador on June 23, after traveling to Russia, where he has since been stranded at the transit area of a Moscow airport.
However, Quito has maintained from the beginning that it can only consider Snowden's request once he is on Ecuadorian soil or at one of its embassies, as is the case with anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has taken refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Snowden, who has accepted the asylum offers by Latin American countries, is now waiting to see whether Russia will grant him temporary asylum till he is able to travel.