Britain has threatened to strip the Ecuadorian embassy in London of its diplomatic status after Julian Assange was given asylum in Ecuador.
A former British Ambassador to Moscow, who chose to be unnamed, told the BBC “It appears inconsistent with the international law on diplomatic relations and could make Britain’s own missions abroad insecure”
The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 by which Britain claims to revoke the diplomatic status of the embassy was introduced after a British policewoman was killed after being shot by someone from inside the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984.
It has never been invoked ever since and many British officials within the embassy are not even aware of its existence.
The British Foreign Office is leaving no stone unturned to dissuade Ecuador from granting asylum to Mr. Assange. The Ecuadorian Government was warned that it had legal basis under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act “to take actions in order to arrest Mr. Assange in the current premises of the embassy”.
“We very much hope not to get this point [revoking diplomatic status], but if you cannot resolve the issue of Mr. Assange’s presence on your premises, this route is open to us,” it said.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino stated that this request was “a blatant disregard for international law and an explicit type of blackmail”. He further stated that if these threat were carried out it would be perceived by Ecuador as “an unacceptable, unfriendly and hostile act and as an attempt against sovereignty which would require us to respond with greater diplomatic force”.