The UK and Sweden have criticised Ecuador for granting political asylum to Julian Assange as the diplomatic row over what to do with him intensifies. The Wikileaks founder took refuge at Ecuador’s London embassy in June as he faced extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies. The UK has said it will not allow him safe passage out of the country. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said he hoped talks with the UK would “overcome this”.
He told BBC Mundo the UK should respect Ecuador’s “sovereign decision” otherwise “we will use the alternatives under international law to demand the safe passage”. “We don’t think it is reasonable that, after a sovereign government has made the decision of granting political asylum, a citizen is forced to live in an embassy for a long period,” he added. Mr Patino also claimed “other elements” were motivating Sweden’s wish to extradite Mr Assange, and tweeted his “sincere appreciation” to the national assembly in Ecuador which passed a resolution condemning the “threat” to Mr Assange’s political asylum. However, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said his country would not be lectured by Ecuador.