The Foreign Ministers of the Organization of American States (OAS) is meeting to discuss UK’s threat to revoke the diplomatic status of Ecuador’s embassy in London over Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange.
Livestream here. (English)
The meeting started about at around 9 a.m. PST. Here is a recap of what has happened up to present:
Representatives of all 34 delegations of the OAS are present. Members will now elect meeting president.
Perú’s FM Roncagliolo now assumes the chair and will preside over this meeting.
Guayana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett will serve as Vice President of this meeting
The plenary session of the 27th meeting of consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs is now open. Each delegate will have 8 minutes.
Delegate from Ecuador: A sovereign country has the right to act in accordance with its principles & international law.
Delegate from Ecuador: UK threats began on 9 july, only a few days after
#Assange entered the Ecuadorean Embassy.
Asylum was not a hasty decision; there was very careful & deliberate review of intl conventions on right of asylum & threats to Assange
Delegate from Ecuador recalls William Hague’s defense of the inviolability of Embassies last year
Ecuador: Hague himself said, never can there be a pretext to fail inviolability of dipl. premises,in 2011 defense of UK embassy in Tehran
Delegate from Ecuador re-reads the UK threat against Ecuadorean Embassy communicated in this memo: http://telegrafo.com.ec/images/eltelegrafo/banners/2012/carta-de-las-autoridades-inglesas-entregada-a-la-cancilleria-ecuador.pdf …
Ecuador formally rejects infringement of its sovereignty and treatment as if it were a mere colony
Here is the threat by the UK against Ecuador, citing domestic law, to invade the Ecuadorean Embassy: • Be (cont) http://tl.gd/j0o93g
Ecuador delegate recalls asylum granted throughout history: Uruguay embassy in Hamburg granted asylum in 1938 to Jews escaping persecution
FM Patiño, Ecuador: Latin America has long tradition in granting asylum, jews fleeing to Uruguay after Kristallnacht, Trotsky to Mexico.
Ecuador delegate: The first right of humans is right to physical safety.
#Assange arrest instructions photographed on police clipboard outside Ecuadorean Embassy in London: http://www.itv.com/news/story/2012-06-19/assange-seeks-political-asylum/ …
FM Patiño restates the instruments of international law invoked in Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to
#Assange. http://www.mmrree.gob.ec/eng/2012/com042.asp …
“In past two months, Ecuador has bent over backwards to accommodate the UK and Sweden, & consulted with the US re. intent to prosecute.”
Ecuador delegate reiterates how they asked for guarantees from Sweden that Assange would not be extradited to US in course being questioned.
FM Patiño: UK did not withdraw its threat against Ecuador. It must therefore be considered as still being in effect.
FM Patiño: UK states it has never threatened & never acted against Vienna convention; but at no point was the original threat *withdrawn*
FM Patiño: Univ. declaration as human rights establishes the right to seek and receive asylum. http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/human-rights-basics/universal-declaration-of-human-rights …
Draft resolution, declaration by Ecuador, as well as the offending UK memo, are now being distributed to attendants. http://www.oas.org/en/media_center/webcast_schedule.asp …
Saint Kitts supports resolution
Dominican Rupublic offers solidarity with Ecuador
Panama is supporting safe passage for Assange
Via Wikileaks Press Twitter account:
Panama on draft resolution: we are not in position to support it in its current form, OAS not the forum for discussing a bilateral issue
Nicaragua backs resolution
Jamaica has issues with the wording of the resolution. Does not believe the substance of UK’s letter constitutes a threat.
Venezuela up. Believes UK did threaten Ecuador embassy. FM Moros says Ecuador acted appropriately in granting in Assange matter. Venezuela stand with Ecuador and ask others to stand in solidarity with Ecuador. Asks UK to withdraw threat and return to respectful dialogue. Says UK must do this today.
Trinidad and Tobago:
US: Blah blah, we’re not involved. We’re committed to protecting diplomatic premesis. Mentions Iran embassy and bombings of Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. We shouldn’t perpetuate a discussion of threats that do not exist. We share committment to law but there are more vital issues to discuss re intl law. Tells OAS to focus on important issues. Snide diplay of superiority, IMO. Jerks.
Grenada: Urges negotiation between parties. Via WL press, Greneda wants rewording.
Haiti: Reaffirm belief in Vienna Convention. Will join in consensus.
Mexico: Shares concerns about inviolability of diplomatic missions per intl law. Bilateral situation. Re asylum, we support asylum generally but there are limitations in exercizing it. Need for concert of states involved in order for asylum to work. Must find mutually workable solution. Supports consensus resolution.
Costa Rica: Principle of inviolability has evolved over time. Equality undergirds principles of UN agreements.
Argentina: International law is for all nations to follow, not just smaller countries. Smaller countries must rely on law because they have less power. Major powers must follow the law. If the UK had broken asylum law, some here may be grieved by their families today. Laws must be upheld. Violation of asylum law requires condemnation. For Argentina, it is necessary that UK withdraw threat to Ecuador’s embassy. The threat against Ecuador is a threat against everyone. Argentina supports draft resolution.
Uruguay: Inviolable. Threats out of place. The receiving state cannot threaten. Receiving state is there to protect the safety of the mission. Never shall a threat be used as a means to resolve international issues.
Colombia: Respect for diplomatic premisis. Solidarity with government of Ecuador. Talks about Tehran and inviolability of missions. It cannot be otherwise so that all nations can operate on equal footing.
Dominica: Resolve issue diplomatically.
Canada: Bilateral matter. This is not the correct forum to reolve issue. One party in matter is a member of the OAS, the other is not. Draft resolution will cause more division. Must respect the subject matter involved, be objective. Does not accept that diplomatic asylum. Cannot support resolution because of use of ”threat”. UK denies threat and says it is seeking diplomatic solution. Wants consensus based approach through bilateral negotiation.
Suriname: Belief in intl law and compliance with treaties. Respect of civility of states and the Geneva Conventions and Vienna Convention. Inviolability of diplomatic missions. Mutually acceptable resolution in accordinace with intl law.
Bolivia: Diplomatic missions an extention of a state. Threats against Ecuador affect all of Latin America. Must adopt firm resolution to uphold the law.
St. Vincent? Peaceful resolution. All parties must negotiation in a way free of rancor. Don’t want to devolve into a debate about whether there was a threat. Threat was to the law of diplomatic protection. Only three reasons to revoke protection of embassy per UK law. Assange not threat to national security, not threat to public safety. Vienna Conventions must be complied with, no limits. Supports draft revolution.
Paraguay: Accepts just principle of asylum. No provision of UK law will prevail over international law. WL press quote: “Delegate from Paraguay: Right to asylum is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the right of Ecuador to decide.”
Guatemala: Support any resolution upholding intl law.
St Lucia: Not here to be judge and jury but we believe in peaceful settlement of dispute. Bilateral. Some issues with the language of the resolution.
Chile: Ecuador has obligation to work on strengthening intl law. No country can use domestic law to breach intl obligations. Pleased to see the UK note distributed at this meeting re Vienna Conventions. Full support to Ecuador.
Brazil: Issue of great importance is inviolability of diplomatic premesis. Pursue dialogue and direct relations.
Antigua: Full support behind inviolability of premesis of diplomatic missions. Asks both parties to resolve issue.
Barbados: First and foremost a bilateral issue to be resolved through amicable dialogue. Subscribe to intl law and inviolability of diplomatic premesis.
Honduras: Compliance with intl law and provisions of intl treaties informs our domestic law. Inviolability of missions. Right to asylum in Latin America that does not exist in other parts of world.
Permanent Observers will take floor. Agreement may be reached in a few minutes, so PO’s may take the floor.
UK: Principles of Vienna Conventions, UK has not threatened Ecuador. Respect and compliance for intl law heart of UK. In full compliance of Vienna. Sweden issued arrest warrant for Assange, accused of serious offenses. UK police arrested Assange. Met UK’s obligation according to EU law, was required to take action on Sweden’s behalf. Blah blah we’re doing all the legal things that need to be done to extradite legally. Assange sought refuge because he did ot get the legal ruling he wanted.
Sweden: (Sorry, I missed a lot) Extradition to 3rd country is hypothetical speculation. Sweden not allowed to extradite person who could get capital punishment. (But renditioned for torture is ok, right?) We will respect intl law if requested to extradite to 3rd country. Via WL Press tweet : “Swedish representative: it is unacceptable that the course of european judicial process is hindered in this manner”
Ecuador, again: We are not discussing the Vienna Convention here today. The draft resolution may have discrepancies in wording and we are open to revise it. Revision happening at this time.
We may have consensus within a few minutes…
* * *
Reading out document.
Canada: We can’t support resolution and we’d like to add a footnote to the resolution, should it pass.
US: We’ll allow this resolution to go through (??WTF?!?) but we want to add a footnote. OK, I hope that is diplomatic speak for something, because it sounded like a condescending swipe. Can the US block this resolution?
Applause in the room.
WL Press twitter account says that text of resolution will be found here.