Aug. 21 - Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa sharply rebukes Britain for threatening to enter its London Embassy, while U.S. refutes claims it wants to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder. Jessica Gray reports.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of Ecuador's London Embassy at the weekend in his first public appearance since he was granted political asylum there. The 41-year-old is at the centre of a heated international row between Britain and Ecuador over his extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted over allegations of sexual assault. Britain is refusing to grant the Australian former computer hacker safe passage out of the country and even threatened to enter the embassy where Assange has been holed up for the past two months - prompting a sharp rebuke from Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. He said it would be suicidal for the United Kingdom to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy and would set a dangerous diplomatic precedent violating international accords around the world. Assange claims the charges are politically motivated and accuses the U.S. of wanting to get a piece of him for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret cables online. On Monday, U.S. state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refuted his accusations. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN VICTORIA NULAND SAYING: "Well, let me start with the fact that he is making all kinds of wild assertions about us, when, in fact, his issue with the Government of the United Kingdom has to do with whether he's going to go stand - face justice in Sweden for something that has nothing to do with WikiLeaks. It has to do with charges of sexual misconduct."