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The Organization of American States has adopted Ecuador’s proposal for a meeting of foreign ministers to address the international legal implications of British threats to invade the embassy of a sovereign country.
The resolution was adopted with 23 voting in favor, three against and five abstentions.
The US and Canada were among those who opposed the measure, stating that the dispute over Assange’s fate is a bilateral matter between Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and should not be dragged to the international table.
The foreign ministers of the bloc’s thirty-five member states will convene at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on August 24.
The special meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States was held on Thursday and Friday. The bloc discussed Ecuador’s proposal to arrange a ministerial meeting of the member states to address the issue as a matter of international law.
Ecuador called for an emergency OAS meeting after it received a memorandum from the UK, including a threat of an assault on the country’s London embassy to arrest Julian Assange if he is not handed over to the British authorities. The contents of the letter were revealed the day before Ecuador publicly announced its decision to grant Assange political asylum.
While the UK maintains that it has a right to extract Assange from Ecuador’s embassy, the Latin American country says any entry by British authorities onto its ambassadorial premises to arrest Assange would constitute a violation of Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In addition to the OAS, Ecuador also called on the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) to hold meetings with a similar agenda.
The ALBA countries responded to the call with a statement expressing their solidarity with Ecuador and a “most resounding rejection” of the UK’s threats against the country. According to a press release published by Ecuador, the ALBA governments warned Britain of “the serious and irreversible consequences the execution of these threats would have on the political, economic and cultural relations” with its member countries.
Both UNASUR and ALBA are expected to hold meetings on the issue over the weekend.