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Snowden Meets with Human Rights Groups

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden met with an array of human-rights groups and activists Friday atSheremetyevo International Airport, according to reports from Interfax.

An email was sent Thursday in Snowden's name to about a dozen groups. The email said he wanted to make a brief statement and discuss "the next steps forward in my situation," according to versions of the message posted online by some of the invitees. This is Snowden's first public activity since arriving at the transit zone of the Moscow airport nearly two weeks ago. Reports surfaced that Snowden was trying to head to Venezuela for asylum.

Snowden had applied for asylum in over 20 countries, but the majority of his requests were rejected. The only countries to approve Snowden's request were Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia. Snowden has had a difficult time traveling, however, because the U.S. government annulled his passport and sought his arrest.

"Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have witnessed an unlawful campaign by officials in the U.S. government to deny my right to seek and enjoy this asylum under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," said Snowden in his message to the human-rights groups.

Snowden praised the countries who did offer him asylum.

"I have been extremely fortunate to enjoy and accept many offers of support and asylum from brave countries around the world. These nations have my gratitude, and I hope to travel to each of them to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world," the email read.

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