Ecuador willing to resume talks once UK withdraws ‘threat’ regarding embassy
Ecuador has been, and is open to dialogue to the UK if London withdraws its “threat” to raid the embassy in London to arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, according to Ecuador’s Foreign minister Ricardo Patiño who revealed that the two countries had been holding bilateral discussions on the issue for the last two months.
“We have been talking with the UK for the last two months and the final reply was a threat. We hope the threat is deposed and with great pleasure we will resume talks; we have no problems with the UK; this is what we said from the very beginning but with a threat the game is different”, said the Ecuadorean Foreign Affairs minister Ricardo Patiño.
“Currently there are not talks with the UK because Ecuador is a sovereign country and makes its own sovereign decisions”, revealed Patiño from Guayaquil following the ministerial meeting of ALBA countries in Guayaquil.
The Bolivarian Alliance of our Americas is an organization of South and Central American countries plus from the Caribbean masterminded by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and his generous oil handouts.
“We were talking to see if it was possible to obtain some sort of guarantee statement for the life of Assange, that he would not be extradited to a third country”, said Patiño. “We trusted discussions were based on mutual respect but when this was lost, of course conditions to sit and talk are now far more limited”.
Patiño claimed that last Wednesday the UK “threatened” via a letter to break into the embassy in London to arrest Assange and have him extradited to Sweden where he is under investigation for alleged sexual crimes, which he denies.
“The threat is still pending and has not been withdrawn” said Patiño who added that once it is withdrawn “we will gladly resume talks but respectfully”. He said Ecuador is not a country that can respond with violence, but “certainly with the solidarity from other nations”.
“We don’t want more threats, we want dialogue, we can talk about whatever the UK wants but dignity, sovereignty is not for sale, is not negotiable, is not discusses. What you discuss are political issues and we are willing to do that” indicated Patiño who nevertheless pointed out that trade and cultural relations with the UK should not be affected by this issue.
However Patiño did not discard that if Mr Assange is not granted safe passage through British territory, Ecuador could appeal to international courts.
Meantime Spanish former magistrate Baltasar Garzón said on Sunday that his client, Julian Assange, under refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London was demanding minimum guarantees to reply to Swedish authorities for the alleged sexual crimes of which he is accused in that country.
Garzon, who gained headlines in Spain for his work in favour of human rights, both condemning the police forces and the ETA guerrillas, has been trying by all means to avoid having Assange sent to Sweden since it is feared he could then be extradited to the US, which is the country most affected by Wikileaks filtrations and where he runs the risk of been condemned to the death penalty.