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Ecuadore denounces British threat to storm embassy over Assange asylum

(Xinhua)

13:56, August 16, 2012

QUITO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Wednesday denounced Britain's threat to enter Ecuador's embassy in London to seize WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who seeks asylum there.

Patino told reporters that Ecuador's Ambassador to London, Ana Alban, was notified that British authorities "could assault" the embassy, if Assange "is not handed over."

The British government had said it is "determined" to extradite Assange to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault. "The UK has a legal obligation to extradite Mr. Assange to Sweden ... and we remain determined to fulfill this obligation," said a Foreign Office spokesman.

In Quito, Patino called Britain's threat a "hostile and unfriendly act" that violates "clear international norms." "We are not a British colony," he added.

Earlier in the day, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa received a legal brief on Assange's asylum request, as he prepared to deliver a decision on the closely-watched case.

Correa met with a team of legal experts who prepared the brief, accompanied by his Attorney General Diego Garcia, Presidential Office Spokesman Fernando Alvarado and Foreign Minister Patino.

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