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LatAm nations express surveillance 'indignation' to UN

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Latin American bloc Mercosur reiterated today to the United Nations its indignation over US espionage practices revealed by Edward Snowden, without prescribing its next steps on the matter.

During a meeting with Ban Ki-moon, foreign ministers from Venezuela, Uruguay, and presented a final declaration from a recent Mercosur summit, condemning the US information gathering.

"We were mandated by our heads of state to express our serious concern with the espionage allegations that have come out of Edward Snowden's revelations," Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota told journalists.

"This is an alert that we are giving regarding practices that raise serious concerns worldwide," he said.

His Venezuelan counterpart Elias Jaua spoke of "concern and indignation," adding that the spying "violated international principles and human rights." Venezuela currently presides over Mercosur.

The two ministers said that Ban shared their worries. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said he was unable to comment on the matter at this time.

Asked what concrete steps Mercosur wished the UN to take, Patriota reiterated that it was time to "issue a warning" and that Mercosur would "coordinate to consider various initiatives," without adding further detail.

The ministers also touched on the "unprecedented" refusal by several European nations to allow the airplane of Bolivian President Evo Morales in their airspace recently after rumors that Snowden could be on board.

According to Patriota, the member states and Ban also discussed the embargo against Cuba and the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, claimed by both Argentina and the UK.

The four ministers will be in New York on Tuesday for a UN Security Council discussion on cooperation between the UN and regional bodies. Argentina will preside over the council beginning in August.

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