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I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided – after immense pressure from the Obama administration – to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.
By Admin (from 17/08/2012 @ 06:04:31, in en - Science and Society, read 2379 times)

This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries – arguably millennia – of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.

The provisions of the Vienna Convention on the status of diplomatic premises are expressed in deliberately absolute terms. There is no modification or qualification elsewhere in the treaty.

Article 22

1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter
them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises
of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the
mission or impairment of its dignity.
3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of
transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

Not even the Chinese government tried to enter the US Embassy to arrest the Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen. Even during the decades of the Cold War, defectors or dissidents were never seized from each other’s embassies. Murder in Samarkand relates in detail my attempts in the British Embassy to help Uzbek dissidents. This terrible breach of international law will result in British Embassies being subject to raids and harassment worldwide.

The government’s calculation is that, unlike Ecuador, Britain is a strong enough power to deter such intrusions. This is yet another symptom of the “might is right” principle in international relations, in the era of the neo-conservative abandonment of the idea of the rule of international law.

The British Government bases its argument on domestic British legislation. But the domestic legislation of a country cannot counter its obligations in international law, unless it chooses to withdraw from them. If the government does not wish to follow the obligations imposed on it by the Vienna Convention, it has the right to resile from it – which would leave British diplomats with no protection worldwide.

I hope to have more information soon on the threats used by the US administration. William Hague had been supporting the move against the concerted advice of his own officials; Ken Clarke has been opposing the move against the advice of his. I gather the decision to act has been taken in Number 10.

There appears to have been no input of any kind from the Liberal Democrats. That opens a wider question – there appears to be no “liberal” impact now in any question of coalition policy. It is amazing how government salaries and privileges and ministerial limousines are worth far more than any belief to these people. I cannot now conceive how I was a member of that party for over thirty years, deluded into a genuine belief that they had principles.

Source: craigmurray.org.uk

About Craig Murray

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

Personal Biography:

Craig Murray was born in West Runton in October 1958 and educated at Sheringham Primary and Paston Grammar schools.

He graduated from the University of Dundee in 1982 with a MA (Hons) 1st Class in Modern History.

From 1982 to 1984 he was President of Dundee University Students Association and he was a member of Dundee’s tournament winning Granada TV University Challenge team in 1983.

Professional Biography:

In 1984 he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As a member of the Diplomatic Service his responsibilities included the following:

1986-9 Second Secretary, Commercial, British High Commission, Lagos

Responsible for promoting British exports to, and business interests in, Nigeria.

1989-92 Head of Maritime Section, FCO, London

Responsible for negotiation of the UK and Dependent Territory continental shelf and fisheries boundaries, for implementation of the Channel Tunnel treaty and for negotiations on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. From August 1990 to August 1991 he was also head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, responsible for intelligence analysis on Iraqi attempts at evading sanctions, particularly in the field of weapons procurement, and with providing information to UK military forces and to other governments to effect physical enforcement of the embargo.

1992-4 Head of Cyprus Section, FCO London

Responsible for UN negotiations on the Cyprus dispute, relations with the government of Cyprus and for the mandate and requirements of the British contingent of the UN force in Cyprus,

1994-7 First Secretary (Political and Economic), British Embassy, Warsaw

Head of the Political and Economic sections of our Embassy in Poland. Responsible for relations with Poland, and assisting Poland’s post-communist transition process with reference to preparation for EU membership.

1997-8 Deputy Head, Africa Department (Equatorial), Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Responsible for British political and commercial relationships with West Africa, including development issues.

1998-2002 Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, West Africa Branch

Responsible for British economic, political, commercial and aid relationships with Ghana and Togo. In Autumn 1998 Craig Murray was the UK Representative at the Sierra Leone Peace talks held in Togo, Liberia and Sierra Leone, including direct negotiation with the RUF terrorist leadership.

2002-2004 British Ambassador, Uzbekistan

Responsible for our relationship with Uzbekistan. He found Western support for the dictatorial Karimov regime unconscionable, as detailed in the rest of this website.

At the 2005 UK General Election, Craig Murray takes on Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in Blackburn as an Independent candidate, winning 2,082 votes.

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