General Secretary of Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Ali Rodriguez (3rd L), joined by Uruguay's Foreign Minister Luis Almagro (L), Argentina's Foreign Affairs Minister Hector Timerman (2nd L), Peru's Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Holguin (R), hold hands as they pose for a photograph during a meeting in Guayaquil August 19, 2012. Ecuador was hosting a weekend gathering of foreign ministers from the ALBA group of leftist-led Latin American nations and UNASUR to discuss the case of Julian Assange. (Photo : Reuters)
The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) condemned Great Britain on Sunday after meeting in Guayaquil, Ecuador for its response to Ecuador's decision to grant Wikileaks founder Julian Assange political asylum. In a statement, ministers from the member nations "condemned the threat of force between states" and affirmed "the right of states to concede asylum," the Washington Post reports.
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The 12-nation union met a day after the leftist government group ALBA met in Guayaquil and endorsed Ecuador's decision to grant Assange asylum. UNASUR's statement against Britain, however, made no mention of approving Ecuador's decision.
The Washington Post also reports that Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Colombia have yet to take a stand on the issue.
Ecuador granted Assange asylum last week after he spent two months in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He exhausted his appeals options in June against an extradition to Sweden following two separate sexual assault charges in that country. Despite Ecuador's decision, Britain's Foreign Office stated that it intended to fulfill its legal obligations to extradite Assange to Sweden.
Assange and his supports contend that he will face extradition to the United States from Sweden on charges of espionage following the release of hundreds of thousands of military logs and diplomatic cables in 2010.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa stated that he believed there is enough evidence to prove Assange would not face a fair trial if extradited to the U.S. Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino also said he failed to get Britain, Sweden and the United States to guarantee Assange would not be extradited to the U.S., thus prompting Ecuador's decision.
Ecuador and Britain have been in a heated standstill following last week's decision and Britain's threat to enter the Ecuadorean embassy to arrest Assange. Britain has yet to recognize the asylum and has stated it will not guarantee his safe passage to Ecuador.