UK & World News
Assange: Ecuador's President In Warning To UK
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has warned UK authorities not to enter the country's embassy in London, saying that to do so would amount to a violation of international law.
Speaking during his weekly address in the Ecuadorian capital Quito, Mr Correa said if UK authorities did enter the Ecuadorian embassy, it would "destroy" all diplomatic ties between the two countries.
His comments come amid an on-going dispute over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Mr Assange, 41, took shelter in the Ecuadorian Embassy on June 19 after he exhausted all routes of appeal in the UK to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sexual misconduct.
Mr Assange and his supporters claim the Swedish case is merely the opening gambit in a Washington-orchestrated plot to make him stand trial in the US over his work with WikiLeaks - something disputed by both Swedish authorities and the women involved.
The dispute escalated in recent days when Britain appeared to suggest it could invoke a little-known law to strip Ecuador's embassy of diplomatic privileges, meaning police would be free to move in and detain Mr Assange.
But diplomats have since repeated assurances that Britain was simply setting out the country's legal options, not making a specific threat to storm the nation's mission.
South American foreign ministers were due to meet in Quito on Saturday to discuss the stand-off, and Mr Assange is expected to make a statement from the embassy on Sunday.
Speaking from Quito, Sky News correspondent Dominic Waghorn said Mr Correa's comments showed that he was not willing to bow to UK pressure over the issue.
"There's no sign at all of him backing down. If anything he's hardening his position. He is daring the British now it seems to go into the embassy and seize Assange.
"This row is showing no sign at all of easing."