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Assange is a problem and a nuisance says Nobel Peace Prize winner

by on23 January 2018

Ecuadorian president loses patience 

The president of Ecuador is getting more miffed at Julian Assange as the WikiLeaks founder enters his sixth year as a fugitive inside the country's embassy in London.

Lenin Moreno, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner,  told Ecuadorian television that Assange was a "nuisance" and an "inherited problem" for his government.

Moreno said he hoped to have a "positive result" with regards to Assange's situation after a failed attempt to give him diplomatic immunity by granting him Ecuadorian citizenship so he can leave the embassy without being arrested by British police.

Moreno added Ecuador is continuing to negotiate with "important people" on Assange, without going into further details.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London's Knightsbridge since 2012 in his bid to avoid extradition, is no longer wanted by Swedish authorities over sexual assault allegations but still faces arrest by British police over a bail jumping charge if he leaves. Assange is convinced that he is so important that he will be extradited to the US once arrested to face espionage charges following the leak of thousands of classified documents on his WikiLeaks website relating to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So far there has been no indication that this particular fear is anything other than something in Assange's head.

The Foreign Office confirmed it rejected Ecuador's request to grant Assange diplomatic immunity in what is believed a sign the South American country is losing patience with the Wikileaks founder. Some of the problems are of Assange's own making.  When he legged it to the embassy, he was a seen as a left-wing and anti-American – all the stuff which Ecuador supported.   However while in the Embassy he was increasingly been seen as a tool for Russian propaganda efforts to aid the right take control of the US and supporting Donald Trump. Ecuador had to cut off his internet connection in the US election because he was making statements which were anti-Ecuador's foreign policy.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: "The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Assange here in the UK. The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter. Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice."

Moreno said: "This would have been a good result, unfortunately, things did not turn out as the foreign ministry planned and so the problem still exists."

Ecuadorian foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa confirmed that the government will not rescind the asylum granted to Assange by former president Rafael Correa in 2012.

Last modified on 23 January 2018
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