ALBA Countries Reject British Threats On Ecuador's London Embassy


MNI Alive Political Contributor

Release Date

Monday, August 20, 2012


The member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA) have issued a communiqu strongly rejecting British threats to the integrity of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The communiqu, published on Granma daily, reads that the statements by British government's spokesperson on the Julian Assange case threaten to violate the Vienna Convention on the Privileges and Immunities, which would disregard international obligations.

In a recent press conference, Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino denounced the expressed intentions by British authorities to invade the diplomatic mission with the aim of taking out Julian Assange, who remains inside the building and was granted asylum by the Ecuadorian government.

Patino released a letter sent to the Ecuadorian government by British authorities reading: "You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the Embassy, international media outlets reported.

The group of Latin American and Caribbean countries warned the UK of the serious consequences that the implementation of its threats would bring against bilateral relations with the regional integration bloc.

All eight countries with the ALBA expressed their solidarity with Ecuador and they announced an upcoming ministerial meeting. ALBA is made up of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Friday decided to convene a meeting of foreign ministers on August 24 to discuss the situation between Ecuador and the United Kingdom.

The purpose of the meeting will be to "address the situation between Ecuador and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland regarding the inviolability of the diplomatic premises of Ecuador in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in accordance with international law, and to agree on appropriate measures to be adopted."

The secretary general of the OAS, Jos 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, it 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.

The resolution adopted was presented in its original version by the Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the OAS, Mar'_a Isabel Salvador, who requested the convening of a meeting of OAS foreign ministers after her government received the written communication from the United Kingdom.

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.

Photo Credit To National Post

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