BRITAIN has withdrawn a threat to enter Ecuador’s embassy in London to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, President Rafael Correa says.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said he believed his country had overcome a diplomatic spat with Britain over its threat to enter the Ecuadoran Embassy in London in order to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“We believe that this unfortunate incident is over,” said Correa.”It was a mistake for the British Foreign Office to say that they would enter our embassy.”
“It’s good that the United Kingdom has given up its threat.
“Now we act as if we never received it. We must seek a mutually acceptable solution of the case of Julian Assange through dialogue.”
The president added that he was glad the two countries “were returning to the path of dialogue and were looking for a consensual solution without abandoning our principles.”
The 34-member Organisation of American States declared “solidarity and support” for Ecuador on Friday, rejecting “any attempt that might put at risk the inviolability of the premises of diplomatic missions”.
In an earlier interview with the British newspaper The Sunday Times, Correa said that the sex crime allegations against the WikiLeaks founder were “not a crime in Latin America” and had played no part in Quito’s decision to grant Assange asylum.
He also blasted the British government for its “contradictions” in wanting to extradite Assange to Sweden, when it did not extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet after his 1998 arrest in London on an international arrest warrant issued by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who is now heading Assange’s legal team.
“The crimes that Assange is accused of, they would not be crimes in 90 to 95 percent of the planet,” Correa told the newspaper.
“Not to use a condom in an act between a couple, this is not a crime in Latin America.
“But I don’t want to get any more into this. This has been irrelevant to the decision taken by Ecuador.”
The 41-year-old Australian fears he would be passed on to the United States, which he enraged by releasing a vast cache of its confidential government files.
With Assange holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague pointed out to Quito an obscure 1987 law under which its police could enter the mission and extract Assange.
British Prime Minister David Cameron “must be really angry with his foreign minister”, Correa said.
“Because, besides the rudeness and the discourtesy, the intolerable threat this was, it was a huge diplomatic blunder.”
Correa added: “Britain supported Augusto Pinochet unconditionally.
“And they let him go, they didn’t extradite him on humanitarian grounds, whereas they want to extradite Julian Assange for not using a condom, for the love of God.
“These are grave contradictions.”
Assange is facing rape and sexual assault allegations from two women from Stockholm.
Having exhausted all his legal options in Britain to avoid extradition to Sweden, he walked into the Ecuadoran embassy on June 19 and claimed asylum.