Conflict Brewing Between UK And Ecuador As Latin American Country Agrees To Grant Asylum To Assange
Are we about to see a mini-war on UK soil, if and when Britain decides to storm the Ecuadorian embassy, which moments ago announced it has granted asylum to Julian Assange? From Reuters: "Ecuador granted political asylum to Julian Assange on Thursday, ratcheting up tension in a standoff with Britain which has warned it could revoke the diplomatic status of Quito's embassy in London to allow the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder. The high-profile Australian former hacker has been holed up inside the red-brick embassy in central London for eight weeks since he lost a legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape allegations. Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said he feared for the safety and rights of Assange which is why he said his country had decided to grant him asylum. "Ecuador has decided to grant political asylum to Julian Assange," Patino told a news conference in Quito. Ecuador's decision takes what has become an international soap opera to new heights since Assange first angered the United States and its allies by publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables on his WikiLeaks website." The UK, needless to say, is not happy, and the UK foreign ministry has said it will carry out binding obligation to extradite Assange to Sweden. Looks like posturing is about to hit a crescendo and someone will have to do something. Because foreign politics and diplomacy is (luckily) not central planning.
How will the UK go about declaring a non-war war on Ecuador's embassy, which is technically Latin American terrritory?
Before the decision was announced, Britain said it could use a little-known piece of legislation to strip Ecuador's embassy of its diplomatic status so that Assange could be detained.
"It is too early to say when or if Britain will revoke the Ecuadorean embassy's diplomatic status," a Foreign Office spokesman said before Ecuador's decision was announced. "Giving asylum doesn't fundamentally change anything."
"We have a legal duty to extradite Mr Assange. There is a law that says we have to extradite him to Sweden. We are going to have to fulfill that law."
The Ecuadorean government has bristled at Britain's warning. It's foreign minister said Britain was threatening Ecuador with a "hostile and intolerable act" and accused London of blackmail.
Britain's threat to withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorean embassy drew criticism from some former diplomats who said it could lead to similar moves against British embassies.
At this point the only thing that we haven't seen is Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton announcing that weapons of mass destruction have been found at the Ecuador embassy. Only then will the farce be truly complete.
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