Ecuador ready for dialogue with UK, but with eyes on Friday’s OAS meeting
The Ecuadorean government reiterated on Monday that dialogue with UK on the Julian Assange case will continue once London officially “withdraws” the original message with threats. Quito also is hopeful that the coming OAS extraordinary meeting will ratify full support for Ecuador as has happened with other regional organizations.
Foreign minister Ricardo Patiño made the statement following on PM David Cameron’s spokesperson confirmation that London is willing to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but reiterating that there will be no safe conduct for the Wikileaks founder, currently living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he was granted political asylum.
“Currently the threat is pending: we received that communication but we have not received one cancelling it”, said Patiño. The Ecuadorean official insists that last Wednesday it received a written communication warning on the possibility of an action against the embassy with the purpose of arresting Assange, whose Wikileaks has filtered thousands of official governments’ secrets mainly from the US.
Assange however is requested from Sweden to face charges of alleged rape, which he strongly denies.
The written piece which the Ecuadorian government considers threatening, and to which the British government never refers, was strongly condemned by the ALBA group (Bolivarian Alliance for our America), brain child of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Unasur, Union of South American Nations, created by the Brazilian diplomacy as a regional defence forum, over the weekend in Guayaquil.
With the written support from 17 nations of the region (Unasur plus Alba) among which Ecuador, the Ecuadorean government is now looking to Washington where next Friday the Foreign ministers from the Organization of American States, OAS, will be holding an extraordinary meeting.
“We know of the limitations of OAS, the complications regarding its stance in some cases not so long ago, but we are convinced that in a case as this, it is indispensable that there is a solid reaction, not for us but for OAS which must state unequivocally that one of its members has been threatened” pointed out Patiño to a local television channel.
The Ecuadorean representative before OAS, Maria Isabel Salvador said from Washington that she was already working on the “practical sides of the issue”
The OAS Permanent council must first agree on the agenda for the ministerial meeting on Friday based on the resolution proposed by Ecuador and approved last Friday during an extraordinary session with 23 votes in favour and three against, US, Canada and Trinidad Tobago.
The resolution calls on Foreign ministers to address the situation between Ecuador and the UK regarding the inviolability of Ecuador diplomatic premises in the UK, protected by international law.
The OAS Permanent Council must also agree on the rules for the meeting which demands among other things that al least two thirds of Foreign ministers or special delegates are present for the consultation meeting to go ahead.
Patiño said that if it is not possible to reach a dialogue on the safe conduct for Assange, Ecuador will refer the case to international courts, but would prefer dialogue with London because, for example, the International Court of Justice of The Hague takes a “long time”.
The Ecuadorean authorities and the Australian born whistle-blower fear the possibility that Assange might end in the US where he could be trialled for high treason and espionage and receive serious punishment or even the death penalty.