Ecuador Wants Wikileaks’s Assange out of London Embassy, Stay ‘Untenable’

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister has said Julian Assange’s continued stay in their London embassy is “untenable”.

The Wikileaks founder has been in the building for five and a half years, fearful that he will be arrested and extradited to the U.S. if he steps outside.

Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa said Ecuador was looking for a “third country or a personality” to arbitrate the situation with the UK and was “considering and exploring the possibility of mediation”.

“No solution will be achieved without international cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out,” she told reporters in the capital Quito, according to AFP.

“A person cannot live in those conditions forever,” Ms. Espinosa added.

Mr. Assange moved into the building in 2012 to avoid arrest and extradition to Sweden to answer rape charges. Swedish prosecutors dropped the charges last year.

However, he continues to fear extradition to the U.S. and he faces arrest for breaching bail conditions if he steps outside onto British soil.

London’s Metropolitan Police have previously confirmed they will arrest Mr. Assange, as well as maintaining a constant presence outside the building, which has reportedly cost the UK taxpayer more than £10 million.

British authorities have also refused to confirm that Mr. Assange will not be extradited to the U.S.

A government spokesman told The Telegraph:

“The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.”

WikiLeaks has published hundreds of thousands of U.S. army war logs, numerous state department diplomatic cables, as well as emails from the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

According to Jeff Sessions, the U.S. attorney general, speaking in May, Mr. Assange’s arrest had become a “priority”.

At the beginning of January, it was reported that U.S. lawyers who worked on Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign were working to remove the threat of arrest placed on Mr. Assange by federal authorities.


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