Bloomberg News

Unasur Calls Crisis Summit Over U.K. ‘Threats’ to Seize Assange

August 16, 2012

Ecuador said the Union of South American Nations called an emergency meeting to discuss U.K. “threats” to seize WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange from inside its embassy in London.

The 12-nation group, known as Unasur, will hold a meeting of foreign ministers on Aug. 19 in the Ecuadorean coastal city of Guayaquil, according to a statement published today in the country’s presidential gazette. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said yesterday he also requested an emergency meeting of the Washington-based Organization of American States as well as the Venezuelan-led group of nations known as ALBA.

Ecuador accused the U.K. yesterday of threatening to “assault” its embassy in London and arrest Assange, who is seeking sanctuary in the South American nation. Today, Assange was granted asylum over U.K. objections, setting up a confrontation with Britain after it said it would not allow him safe passage out of the country.

“The unauthorized entry of any British authority into the Ecuadorean Embassy compound would be a flagrant violation” of international treaties protecting diplomatic missions, the statement said.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said today his government won’t storm the embassy and was seeking a “diplomatic solution” to the impasse.

Unasur’s 12 members are Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nathan Gill in Quito at ngill4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Sanders at psanders@bloomberg.net


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