THE GUARDIAN: Rafael Correa says officials will 'discuss with and seek the opinions of other countries' before decision is made
Ecuador's president has acknowledged the diplomatic and political minefield created by Julian Assange's application for asylum, and indicated that a decision on the WikiLeaks founder's appeal is likely to take longer than first thought.
Speaking to reporters in Quito, Rafael Correa said: "We are going to have to discuss with and seek the opinions of other countries. We don't wish to offend anyone, least of all a country we hold in such deep regard as the United Kingdom."
Once a decision is made, Correa said, "we can talk about safe passage and such things".The WikiLeaks founder requested asylum at the country's embassy in London on Tuesday, citing the UN declaration on human rights. He is on bail after losing the last of his appeals against extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual offences, but insists such a move could place him at greater risk of possible future prosecution by the United States over the WikiLeaks cable releases in 2010.
Ecuador's deputy foreign minister, Marco Albuja, said on Wednesday that the country would make a decision within 24 hours, but Correa said: "He [Assange] presented his reasons. We are going to verify them. We will take the time necessary. Ecuador is a country which defends the right to life. We have to see whether there is a threat to Julian Assange's life." » | Esther Addley | Friday, June 22, 2012