The Organization of American States (OAS) has scheduled an emergency meeting of its foreign ministers next week to discuss the differences between Ecuador and Britain over the asylum that Quito granted to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The OAS Permanent Council called for the meeting Friday at Ecuador‘s request in a vote of 23 in favour and only three - the United States, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago - against. Five other countries abstained.
OAS foreign ministers are to meet on August 24 in Washington to address the situation between Ecuador and Britain regarding the inviolability of the diplomatic premises of Ecuador. Ecuador has accused Britain of threatening to storm its embassy in London.
OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza stressed to the Council that the resolution approved focuses on the problem posed by the threat or warning made to Ecuador by the possibility of an intervention into its embassy in London”.
“The central issue is not the right of asylum, is the inviolability of embassies, said Secretary General Insulza, who recalled that last year the United Nations Security Council ruled very strictly on the absolute immunity that diplomatic missions must have in all the countries of the world.
“What is being proposed is that the Foreign Ministers of our organization address this subject and not the subject of asylum nor whether it should be granted to Mr. Julian Assange. That will be discussed between Great Britain and Ecuador, the issue that concerns us is the inviolability of diplomatic missions of all members of this organization, something that is of interest to all of us,” said the OAS Secretary General.
During the Council meeting, the Representatives of Ecuador, Argentina, Dominica (on behalf of CARICOM), the United States, Panama, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Canada, Paraguay, Chile and Costa Rica all spoke, as well as the Observers to the OAS from the United Kingdom and Sweden.
The OAS Friday meeting was the first of regional organizations reactions to the diplomatic dispute. On Saturday Foreign ministers of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for Our America, the brainchild of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, are scheduled to address the issue in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second most important city.
The following day the Foreign ministers from Unasur, Union of South American Nations, (a creation of Brazilian diplomacy) which includes all South American countries, will also be holding a round of talks on the UK-Ecuador diplomatic conflict in Guayaquil.
Meanwhile the European Commission indicated that it has no intention of intervening in the conflict between Ecuador and the UK and Sweden over Assange.
According to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, this is a bilateral issue between countries involved in the matter. However, the EU will monitor its development.
“We trust the issue can be resolved with dialogue and total respect for European and International that apply to the case”.
Assange fears that if he is taken to Sweden, the United States will demand his extradition, and in US he is likely to face the death penalty for publication of secret State Department documents.