France has apologized to Bolivia for refusing to allow the jet carrying President Evo Morales to fly across its airspaceTuesday.
Besides France, Italy, Spain and Portugal also denied permission for the plane to fly into their airspace for fear that the jet might be carrying Edward Snowden, the U.S. whistleblower. The plane then was diverted to Austria.
Morales was flying back to Bolivia after a meeting in Moscow.
Leaders of Latin American countries have vowed to have a meeting condemning Europe's action. Bolivia and several leftist allies like Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela accused the European countries including France, Italy, Spain and Portugal of blocking the plane.
"(These are) vestiges of a colonialism that we thought were long over. We believe this constitutes not only the humiliation of a sister nation but of all South America," said Argentine President Cristina Kirchner.
Blaming "conflicting information," French President Francois Hollande said he granted permission as soon as he came to know it was the Bolivian president's plane.
"The foreign minister called his Bolivian counterpart to tell him about France's regrets after the incident caused by the late confirmation of permission for President Morales' plane to fly over [French] territory," said French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot in a statement.
As Bolivia is one of the 21 countries that the American whistleblower sought asylum in, Bolivian government officials have repeatedly said that they believe the U.S. government was behind the incident.
"It is an open provocation to the continent, not only to the president; they use the agent of North American imperialism to scare us and intimidate us," said the Bolivian president while addressing a group of 100 supporters who had come to welcome him at the La Paz airport Wednesday night.