Quito (Ecuador): The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) has voiced its support to Ecuador in granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and strongly condemned Britain for "threatening" to storm the country's embassy in London.

Foreign Ministers of Unasur expressed their solidarity with Ecuador in a joint declaration issued on Sunday following an emergency meeting in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil.

The document conveyed the Unasur's support for the government of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, and reiterated the sovereign right of a country to grant asylum. It said it "strongly condemns the threat of the use of force between countries".

The document stated that Britain's threat to force its way into the embassy goes against the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, agreements that continue to be in force today.

The Unasur called on Ecuador and Britain to pursue dialogue and negotiation within the framework of international laws with regard to Assange, who has been staying at Ecuador's embassy in London since June 19.

The Unasur became the second regional organisation to throw its support behind Ecuador. Member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas issued a joint statement expressing their "emphatic support" for Ecuador and censure for the "intimidating threats" from the British government.

Together, the two organisations represent nations such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Guyana, Nicaragua, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela, and several Caribbean islands.

(Agencies)

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