Rafael Correa said: “Since Mr. Assange has received asylum from the Ecuadorean state, he can stay in the embassy indefinitely.”

But the president invited Britain to negotiate over the next step for the WikiLeaks founder, on the condition Britain withdrew what was seen as a threat to raid the embassy in London.

Referring to a letter sent from Britain to Ecuador that seemed to infer that British authorities could ‘storm’ the embassy and arrest Assange, Correa said: “Despite that rude, impertinent and unacceptable remark we’re still open to dialogue.”

He added: “We don’t expect an apology, but of course we expect Britain to retract the extremely serious mistake they made when they issued the threat that they could violate our diplomatic mission to arrest Mr Julian Assange.”

Under international law, embassies are considered the territory of the foreign nation.

Britain has made it clear it will arrest Assange if and when he leaves the embassy in an attempt to fly to Ecuador, where he has been granted asylum.

The WikiLeaks founder walked into Ecuador’s embassy in London on June 19 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape charges.

Assange fears that if he is extradited to Sweden, he will then be turned over to the US, where he will likely face serious charges for helping to leak US government cables.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman added: “The UK has a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sexual offences and we remain determined to fulfil this obligation.”

Image: Getty