South American bloc adopts resolution on UK threats to Ecuador
The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) has unanimously adopted a seven-point resolution supporting Ecuador’s right to grant Julian Assange asylum and condemning British threats to raid a sovereign state’s embassy in order to arrest him.
Foreign ministers of the 12-member bloc took part in an extraordinary meeting in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. A resolution was adopted just eight minutes after the session began, and was read out by Secretary General Ali Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’ readout of the resolution was met with loud applause.
The document reaffirmed the sovereign right of any country to grant asylum and condemned threats to use force, stating that the bloc’s foreign ministers had taken into account the aide memoire Britain sent to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on the eve of the announcement of the decision on whether to grant Assange asylum.
The resolution reiterated “the inviolability of embassies” and the Vienna Convention, saying that principles of international law could not be overridden by domestic laws, such as the Diplomatic and Consular Act of 1987, which grants the British Secretary of State discretion to revoke immunity to ambassadorial premises.
The organization vowed to encourage all parties to the Assange case to continue dialogue to find a solution within the framework of international law. The importance of refuge and asylum for the protection of human rights was also reaffirmed by the South American foreign ministers.
After the session, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino addressed the press.
He noted that while the United Kingdom was a country far more powerful military-wise than Ecuador, the small Latin American country had the high ground in terms of its understanding of international law.
“Reason does not call for force,” Patino stated. “The force may be as different and as distant as a small country and a country which has atomic bombs. But here, reason is with us.“
Patino thanked fellow Latin American nations for firmly supporting Quito on the issue and said he was pleased with the fact that Julian Assange knows that the region respects international law, the right to personal integrity and the freedom of expression.
He also said he waiting for a resolution expected to be adopted at a similar foreign-minister level meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS), which is scheduled to meet next Friday.
Ecuador’s decision to grant Wikileaks founder Julian Assange asylum has been backed by foreign ministers from countries across South America.
A document agreed at the Union of South American Nations meeting in Ecuador said it supported the country “in the face of the threat” to its London embassy, where he has taken refuge.
The UK has said it could potentially lift the embassy’s diplomatic status.
Mr Assange faces extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims he denies.
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has suggested Mr Assange could co-operate with Sweden if assurances are given that there would be no extradition to a third country.
Supporters of Mr Assange – who on Sunday urged the US to end its “witch-hunt” against the Wikileaks site – claim he could face persecution and even the death penalty if sent there.
so how big can this assange affair get?
how far will the bloc go in support?..will this be a nexus for some other sort of conflict in south america?..the possible outcomes are endless..