Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa has said his country would consider granting political asylum to Bashar al-Assad and his family if the embattled Syrian leader asks for it.
“Any person who requests asylum in Ecuador we are going to consider as a human being whose basic rights we have to respect,” Correa said in an interview with the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo published on Monday.
“We would analyze such a request will all responsibility,” he added.
At the same time, Correa denied reports by Israeli media that a possible asylum for Assad and his family was discussed during the visit of Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad to Ecuador two weeks ago.
“These [Assad asylum] talks did not take place,” he said.
Syrian opposition, backed by the West and some Arab countries, is pushing for Assad’s ouster as the main condition for the settlement of the 20-month-old internal conflict that has already claimed over 40,000 lives, according to human rights monitors.
Ecuador in August granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is sought by Sweden on alleged rape charges and who made an enemy of the US government in 2010, when his whistleblowing site leaked hundreds of thousands of American diplomatic cables.