Embassy of Ecuador, London
|Embassy of Ecuador in London|
|Address||Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent, London SW1X 0LS|
|Ambassador||Ana Albán Mora|
The Embassy of Ecuador to the United Kingdom in London is the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Ecuador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; it is headed by the Ambassador of Ecuador to the United Kingdom. It is located in the Knightsbridge district of London, near Harrods, Hyde Park, and Hans Place, precisely at 3 Hans Crescent at the intersection of Basil Street, and it is serviced by the Knightsbridge station. As of June 2012, the Ecuadorian Embassy also serves as the temporary home of Australian editor, activist, publisher and journalist Julian Assange, after initially entering it on 19 June 2012 claiming diplomatic asylum, which was eventually granted by the Ecuadorian government on 16 August 2012.
The Embassy is charged with representing the interests of the President and Government of Ecuador, improving diplomatic relations between Ecuador and the accredited countries, promoting and improving the image and standing of Ecuador in the accredited nations, promoting the Culture of Ecuador, encouraging and facilitating tourism to and from Ecuador, and ensuring the safety of Ecuadorians abroad. The current Ecuadorian ambassador is Ana Albán Mora.
The structure that houses the Embassy is a white stucco-fronted red-brick building on Hans Crescent in the Knightsbridge area of London. The embassy is a suite of rooms occupying part of the ground floor of the building, which has been described as an "apartment block". The building structure is also shared with the Embassy of Colombia.
As of June 2013[update], Julian Assange is a resident in the embassy, after initially entering it on 19 June 2012 claiming diplomatic asylum, which was eventually granted by the Ecuadorian government on 16 August 2012.
The British government had suggested it could use its discretionary powers under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 to enter the embassy and arrest Assange after giving the embassy due notice. However, it later retracted the suggestion, following condemnation from Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño and President Rafael Correa. Patiño described the British government's statement as "a clear breach of international law and the protocols set out in the Vienna Convention."
On 16 August 2012, both police and protesters gathered outside the embassy, with reports of minor scuffles between the two groups and arrests of some of the protesters. On 19 August 2012, Assange made a speech from a low balcony of the embassy. Assange's remarks were prefaced by a statement from Baltasar Garzón, who is heading his legal team. This was followed by protests in Ecuador outside the British embassy in Quito, as well as support for Correa's approval of the asylum request.
On 22 August, the Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa stated that Assange would be allowed to stay in the embassy indefinitely, but that Ecuador would be open to negotiations with the British government if it withdrew its threats to storm the embassy.
Press photographs taken outside the embassy were reported to have shown police notes stating that Assange was to be arrested "under all circumstances".
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