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“It’s something we have to study and evaluate, that in the coming days or weeks we will have to decide,” he told The Associated Press by phone in Colombia.

He said it would be up to Ecuador, as a sovereign state, to decide whether to appeal to the International Court of Justice in the Hague in order to compel Britain to grant Assange safe passage out of the country.

With negotiations continuing between Britain, Sweden and Ecuador, diplomats and legal experts said that the U.K. should never have raised its legal threat to barge into Ecuador's embassy to detain Assange.

Some lawyers have pointed out that the act itself notes that an embassy’s diplomatic status can only be revoked if the move is “permissible under international law” _ a high hurdle to jump given the age-old deference given to foreign embassy buildings.

Rebecca Niblock, an extradition lawyer, said it was tough to see how Britain could follow through on the threat to nab Assange from inside the embassy, while staying true to what she called “a fundamental premise of international law.”

Extradition expert Julian Knowles was a dissenting voice, saying that he believed the Brits could, and would, be able to revoke Ecuadorean embassy’s diplomatic status if Assange persisted in what Knowles described as “abuse of the rule of law.”

Knowles, who has been critical of Assange, said British officials could arrest the Australian once the diplomatic and media ferment faded.

“I think they’ll take the view that within a few days or weeks it will all blow over,” he said.

But most observers backed the sentiment expressed by Britain’s former ambassador to Russia, Tony Brenton, who told BBC radio that the Foreign Office had “slightly overreached themselves here.”

“I fear the government roared rather like a mouse in this case, and would be best not to have made that threat,” lawyer Alex Carlile told Sky News.

Britain’s government seems to have toned down its rhetoric. Speaking to reporters Thursday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted that Britain would act within the law.

“We are committed to working with them amicably to resolve the matter,” he said. “There is no threat here to storm an embassy.”


Associated Press writer Gonzalo Solano in Quito, Ecuador, contributed to this report.


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