Ecuador has said that it would "responsibly" review the asylum request of former CIA operative Edward Snowden and asked the US to argue its case for his extradition.
"As has been reported, Mr Edward Snowden has requested political asylum in Ecuador. This request will be reviewed responsibly, as are the many other asylum applications that Ecuador receives each year," Efrain Baus, Charge D-affairs of the Ecuadorian Ambassador to the US, said in a statement.
"The legal basis for each individual case must be rigorously established, in accordance with our national constitution and the applicable national and international legal framework," he said, adding that this legal process takes human rights obligations into consideration as well.
"The government of Ecuador has requested that the US submit its position regarding this applicant in writing so that it can be taken into consideration as part of our thorough review process," Baus said, noting that the current situation is not being provoked by Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian embassy "strongly rejected" recent statements made by US government officials containing detrimental, untrue, and unproductive claims about Ecuador.
"Ecuador has signed all the human rights instruments of the Hemisphere and is fully committed to the rule of law and the fundamental principles of international law," he said.
Meanwhile, Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino has suggested that his government could take months to decide whether to grant Snowden's asylum and that his country's relations with the United States would figure in that decision, The New York Times reported.
Snowden fled the United States to Hong Kong this month after leaking details of secret US government surveillance programmes, then flew on to Moscow on Sunday and is still in the transit lounge of Moscow airport.