President Rafael Correa says that while Ecuador has not been asked to grant political asylum to the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, the country may consider it, if requested.
President Correa, who granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange in June this year, may possibly consider doing the same for Assad, close associates and family, if asked to do so.
In a statement to the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo, President Correa said, “Any person who requests asylum in Ecuador, we will consider as a human being whose basic rights we must respect.”
“We would analyze such a request with all responsibility,” he added.
President Correa also confirmed that Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad had visited Quito a few weeks ago. However, he denied reports from Israel's Haaretz newspaper that they had discussed the possibility of granting political asylum to Assad, his family and his associates.
Pan Armenian Photo
Bashar al-Assad president of Syria
“These talks did not take place,” President Correa said. However, he did add that al-Miqdad expressed gratitude to Ecuador over its “objective stance" on the Syrian civil war.
“Ecuador will never favor violence…Can we believe all those news stories on violence, the dictator? Let’s remember what was said about Iraq," President Correa said.
According to Haaretz, al-Miqdad held meetings in Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador over the past week, reportedly bringing with him classified personal letters from Assad to local leaders.
Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño last week denied that Assad had been offered asylum, "Totally denied," Patiño tweeted. "No Syrian citizen has requested asylum in Ecuador, much less its current president."
Syrian President Assad has ruled the country since 2000, and is now facing a civil war with foreign and local opposition parties, pushing for him to relinquish power.