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article imageAssange to address UN live on RT on Wednesday on human rights

By Anne Sewell     Sep 25, 2012 in World
New York - A high-level talk on the legal and ethical legitimacy of diplomatic asylum will be held at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday. Julian Assange will be addressing permanent representatives to the UN General Assembly. (Video Update)
RT has exclusive rights to broadcast this event live. A panel discussion at the 67th General Assembly Debate on Wednesday will include Assange, as well as the Foreign Affairs Minister of Ecuador, Ricardo Patiño, and Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Baher Azmy.
As part of their decision in August to grant political asylum to Assange, Ecuador is sponsoring the event, as the move sparked worldwide debate on the legal and human rights dimensions of diplomatic asylum.
On Thursday, during the UN summit, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague will be meeting with Patiño, when hopefully there will be a breakthrough in the diplomatic problems between the UK and Ecuador.
However, Hague told reporters that the UN was dealing with "much bigger issues" than Assange's fate, although he did acknowledge there there is no current prospect of a resolution in the discussions with Ecuador.
"We agreed that we would continue to talk, and we will continue to talk about this issue with the government of Ecuador. But I see no sign of any break through," Hague said. He further said that the UK was obliged to uphold British and European law by sending Assange to Sweden. "This may go on for some time," Hague said.
At the summit, Ecuador will be requesting safe passage for Assange to travel to Ecuador's embassy in Sweden, where he can then be questioned on the alleged sex crimes for which Sweden wishes his extradition. Patiño states that allowing Assange to transfer to Ecuador's Swedish embassy should be an acceptable compromise for all involved, as he would “remain under our protection while also satisfying the demands of the Swedish justice system.”
So far, the UK and Sweden are silent on the possibility of a compromise, although both countries have publicly vowed that Assange should not be an exception to their legal systems.
Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since June, after losing his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations, which he denies and for which he has not been charged. Worries are that once he is in Stockholm, he may be passed on to the US on espionage charges for his role in leaking secret US diplomatic and military cables, which has both angered and embarrassed the US.
Some relief in the allegations made in Sweden happened recently when a torn condom, alleged to have been used by Assange, was found not to contain his DNA, lessening the evidence in the allegations.
While political asylum has been granted to Assange by Ecuador, he is unable to leave the embassy, as the UK states that they are obliged to arrest him and extradite him to Sweden should he step outside the door.
At one stage a diplomatic row arose when the UK threatened to storm the embassy to arrest Assange, in the following letter, "You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the U.K., the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the Embassy. We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr Assange's presence in your premises, this is an open option for us."
The UK has since withdrawn the threat and Hague insists that they have no intention of carrying out the action, but had simply been briefing Ecuador on all possible legal options.
More about Julian Assange, Wikileaks, ricardo patino, Un, Human Rights
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