Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has warned Britain against any attempt to raid his country’s embassy in London, saying that adventurism would destroy bilateral ties.
In his weekly address to the nation, Correa delivered his strongest warning to the UK yet, as the diplomatic row over Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, escalated.
The Ecuadorian president described the UK’s stance as “grotesque” and “intolerant”.
He said if British police ‘violated Ecuador’s diplomatic mission’ in London it would destroy ties between the two countries.
“The United Kingdom threat would be breaking the law and encroaching on our embassy. I don’t know who they think I am or what they think our government is. But how could they expect us to yield to their threats or cower before them? My friends, they don’t know who they are dealing with”, said Correa.
The comments were likely to be welcomed on the streets of Ecuador, where anti-colonial feeling runs high. Meanwhile, the country’s position is attracting growing international support.
Assange, who has been trapped in the embassy for almost two months, is expected to issue a statement on the row at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Britain is adamant the WikiLeaks founder should be extradited to Sweden so he can answer sex charges, which he denies.
But Assange and his supporters claim he should be allowed safe passage to Ecuador because its government has already granted him political asylum.
Assange, whose leaks have proved embarrassing for the US government, fears that if he is forced to return to Sweden he will be extradited to America, where his life could be in danger.
Last week, British ministers threatened to strip the embassy of its diplomatic status so police could storm it and arrest Assange. Sources believe the chances of that have diminished but insist Assange will be arrested if he leaves the building.