The Straits Times
Published on Sep 28, 2012

Ecuador invokes treaty in Assange row with Britain


QUITO (AFP) - Ecuador said on Thursday that Britain could grant safe passage to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under an extradition treaty between the two countries dating back to the 19th century.

The treaty - signed Sept 20, 1840 - makes it possible to "demonstrate to the United Kingdom that it can deliver safe passage", Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, told South American broadcaster Telesur.

The text "foresees that no one shall be extradited if the offense in question is not political in nature", Mr Patino added.

The minister said he had addressed the issue with his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary William Hague, when the two met earlier Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.