The UK and Ecuadorian governments are starting to use fighting talk when it comes to the case of Julian Assange.
Ecuador has accused the UK of making a “threat” to storm its embassy in London to arrest Julian Assange and the language it is using is similar to that of a country about to declare war.
According to the BBC, the Foreign Office says it can lift the embassy’s diplomatic status to fulfil a “legal obligation” to extradite him.
However, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino was furious at the comment. It might also backfire incrdibly on the UK government. Already the idea that the British might arrest Assange has managed to unite Ecuador’s government and opposition.
Until now the opposition has accused President Rafael Correa of mishandling the case, but are now saying that the British are mishandling it.
They fear that if the British shut down the embassy, it might make Correa appear a hero in the eyes of Ecuador’s voters as he comes into a general election.
A number of police officers are outside the Ecuadorian embassy, in Knightsbridge, and Assange’s supporters have gathered behind a police cordon.
In Ecuador, protesters are camped outside the British embassy in Quito with signs saying “We are sovereign, not colonies”.
Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino had a letter from the UK government which contained a threat that it might storm the embassy in London if it didn’t hand over Julian Assange.
He said such a threat was “improper of a democratic, civilised and rule abiding country”.
He said that Ecuador was not a British colony and if the measure announced in the British official communication is enacted, it will be interpreted by Ecuador as an “unacceptable, unfriendly and hostile act and as an attempt against our sovereignty. It would force us to respond”.
The British have pointed out that the use of the diplomatic premises to harbour people in this way is not compatible with the Vienna Convention.
The law Britain has informed Ecuador it could use in the case is the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 which allows the UK to revoke the diplomatic status of an embassy on UK soil, which would potentially allow police to enter the building to arrest Assange.
In short Ecuador would go to war against the UK to protect Assange from facing a trial in Sweden where he is likely to face questioning for allegations he didn’t use a condom while having sex. Has the world gone raving mad? [yes.Ed]