Ecuador is none too pleased with the threat made by the UK government, which said it had the legal right to raid the Ecuadorian Embassy in order to extradite WikiLeaks‘ publisher Julian Assange, even as President Rafael Correa considers Assange’s political asylum request.
“Today we’ve received a threat by the United Kingdom, a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy in London if Ecuador refuses to hand in Julian Assange,” Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters in Quito.”We are not a British colony,” he added.
The letter sent to Ecuader reads: “You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy.”
It added: “We need to reiterate that we consider the continued use of the diplomatic premises in this way incompatible with the Vienna convention and unsustainable and we have made clear the serious implications that this has for our diplomatic relations.”
Ecuador’s retort was priceless.
“This is unbecoming of a democratic, civilised and law-abiding state. If this conduct persists, Ecuador will take appropriate responses in accordance with international law,” said Patino. ”If the measures announced in the British official communication materialise they will be interpreted by Ecuador as a hostile and intolerable act and also as an attack on our sovereignty, which would require us to respond with greater diplomatic force.”
Ecuador will announce its decision regarding Assange’s asylum request on Thursday.
The police have surrounded the Ecuadorian embassy. Occupy London was live-streaming, as noted by a D&T reader, but are currently offline. For now, a citizen journalist is live-streaming from the embassy.