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Obama’s seizure of Russian Embassy property could put Julian Assange in danger

US President Barack Obama (R) meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (L) in Los Cabos, Mexico, on June 18, 2012, during the G20 leaders Summit. Obama met today Putin at a G20 summit to discuss differences over what to do about the bloody conflict in Syria. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI POOL / ALEXEI NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/GettyImages)

Julian Assange has laid out his view on why Barack Obama’s seizure of property belonging to the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States violates international law.

The Wikileaks founder’s Tweets are reproduced in-full below.

Julian Assange is absolutely correct in his interpretation of the Vienna Convention. Barack Obama’s extra-legal seizure of Russian properties is yet another example of how his government had total disregard for even the most basic protocols of international law.

However, while Assange outlined the possible legal action Russia could take against the United States, there was a crucial omission that he only hinted at.

Assange stated that he has studied the issue of embassy property out of self-interest. The reason that Assange has not been molested by British authorities is because he is legally on Ecuadorian soil so long as he remains in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London which he has done since 2012.

However, in the United States illegal seizing property of the Russian Embassy, a dangerous precedent is set for countries violating the rights of sovereign embassies throughout the world. As Assange pointed out, the danger set by Obama is far more poignant in 2017 than was the Iranian takeover of the US embassy in 1979 in the midst of a revolution.

Russia and the US are not at war and were not at were when Obama ordered the seizures of Russian property. Likewise, there is no state of war between Britain and Ecuador, but if Obama could seize Russian territory over a clearly political agenda, could Britain do the same in respect of Ecuador?

Legally of course Britain cannot do so, but if a precedent for breaking such laws has been set by the United States, there is no telling whether or not a close NATO ally of the US could do something similar. Will those who commit war crimes together, violate the Vienna Convention together?

This is why, even if the dispute is resolved and the US hands back the stolen Russian property, it would set a legally important precedent for Russia to take the US to the International Court of Justice and at least demand compensation for being locked out of their own legal property.

For now, Russia is likely not going to follow Assange’s advice as for the time being Russia seeks to prioritise a diplomatic solution to the crisis Obama caused. Russia delayed even raising the threat of diplomatic retaliation (which is legal) until Vladimir Putin met Donald Trump face to face, something which was clearly a good will gesture. Nevertheless, Russian patience is wearing thin.

READ MORE: Did Russia learn The Art of the Deal? The curious timing of Russia’s diplomatic retaliation

Given that this is the reality, one can only imagine what Julian Assange must be feeling in respect of his own patience.

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