Ecuador offered Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has enraged Washington by releasing masses of classified US documents, residency with no questions asked.
"We are ready to give him residence in Ecuador, with no problems and no conditions," Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas told the Internet site Ecuadorinmediato.
"We are going to invite him to come to Ecuador so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the Internet but in a variety of public forums," he said.
An international arrest warrant was issued in mid-November against Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, on suspicion of rape and sexual molestation of two women in Sweden.
|Ecuador offered Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has enraged Washington by releasing masses of classified US documents, residency with no questions asked|
The United States, for its part, has a criminal investigation under way into the release of some 250,000 diplomatic cables, the most recent of three huge document dumps by the self-styled whistle-blower website.
The White House branded those who released the documents "criminals, first and foremost," but so far US authorities have publicly filed no charges against Assange.
The documents, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to news organizations in the United States, Britain, France and Germany, have shone a bright light on the behind-the-scenes conduct US diplomacy.
Ecuador's leftist government is one of several in the region that have often been at odds with Washington.
Lucas said even though Ecuador's policy was not to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries, it was "concerned" by the information in the cables because it involved other countries "in particular Latin America."