Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of Ecuador's embassy, where he is taking refuge in London August 19, 2012. (Xinhua/Gautam)
QUITO, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said Tuesday it would be suicide for Britain to force into the Ecuadorian embassy in London to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
"If Britain violates Ecuador's sovereignty it would be suicide, because then British embassies in any part of the world could be violated," Correa said in an interview with public channel Ecuador TV.
The move "would be terrible, a disastrous precedent," said Correa, echoing what many legal experts have been saying of Britain's threat last week to disregard diplomatic convention to seize Assange.
Ecuador has said it received "an explicit and written threat" from the British government to do just that shortly after Ecuador announced it was granting Assange political asylum. Britain has refused to provide Assange safe passage to travel to Quito.
Correa said the British threat to storm the embassy was still valid, as "Britain has not retracted" its statement or "offered apologies," and therefore there was still a "risk" that it could happen, though he considered it unlikely due to international pressure.
Should the British carry out their threat, Ecuador would respond firmly, he said.
"We would take action with the law on our side, with respect for the principles of international law, but with absolute firmness in the face of such an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty," he said.
Correa said he expected foreign ministers from the Organization of American States (OAS), who are to meet Friday in Washington to discuss the the Quito-London standoff, to express their "clear and overwhelming" rejection of Britain's threat.
The OAS should reject "the intimidation by the United Kingdom," which in his opinion violates inter-American and global rights, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and other legal treaties.
Correa also did not rule out taking the case to the United Nations Security Council or other international bodies to "denounce the British threat."
Assange, 41, has been taking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for two months in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault dating from 2010.
Assange fears being handed over to the United States to be prosecuted for publishing U.S. military secrets, and Sweden, Britain and the United States have all refused to rule out that possibility.
QUITO, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Ecuadorians rallied outside the presidential palace here to support President Rafael Correa's decision to grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Standing at a balcony and accompanied by Vice President Lenin Moreno, Correa greeted the crowd, which included several congressmen and other members of the ruling leftist Alliance PAIS and carried banners and images of Assange. Full story
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government on Monday accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of trying to deflect attention from his charges of sexual assault after he called on Washington to stop the "witch-hunt" against his organization.
Calling Assange's remarks at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Sunday as "wild assertions," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that his issue with the British government is whether he will be extradited to Sweden where he was charged with rape and sexual assault. Full story
QUITO, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Monday his country would pursue dialogue with Britain to reach a negotiated settlement over stand-off concerning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's political asylum, before taking the case to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, the Netherlands.
"We prefer to continue working through dialogue with Great Britain," Patino told state-run Gama TV, adding the court represented "a path that would be left to us afterwards." Full story
QUITO, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- South American Foreign Ministers Sunday voiced their support for Ecuador in granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, rebuking Britain for "threatening" to storm the country's embassy in London.
The ministers of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) expressed their solidarity with Ecuador in a joint declaration issued following an emergency meeting in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil. Full story
BEIJING, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- A war of words between the West and Ecuador is escalating as the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is stuck in a diplomatic tug-of-war.
London's threat to storm Ecuador's embassy was "condemned and rejected" by Ecuador's National Assembly on Friday, saying that it would "constitute an attack on national sovereignty and a violation of the principles of international law." Full story