British Foreign Minister William Hague. Photo: Alastair Grant/Scanpix
UK vows to arrest assange

Diplomatic drama over Assange continues

Julian Assange could end up spending a long time at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to British Foreign Minister William Hague. Yesterday the Wikileaks founder was granted asylum in Ecuador, but the UK does not want to let him leave the country, and there appears to be no solution in sight to the diplomatic dispute.

Yesterday's decision by Ecuador to grant Wikileaks founder Julian Assange asylum has lead to diplomatic complications and friction between Ecuador, the United Kingdom and Sweden, Swedish Radio News reports.

What started as a legal issue centering on the criminal investigation of Julian Assange has now gone over to the realm of politics and diplomacy, a London-based lawyer told news agency Associated Press. Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden for sex crime allegations.

Ecuador's asylum decision does not change the situation for Assange, Hague said in a press conference yesterday. "We are required by law and intend to hand over Julian Assange to Sweden."

Hague spoke in response to a press conference held by Ecuador's foreign minister in which the asylum decision was announced and criticism levelled at the United Kingdom and Sweden.

The Ecuadorians were especially upset over the perceived threat from Britain to storm the embassy and retrieve Assange.

Wikileaks tweeted that Julian Assange will make a public statement in person in front of the embassy in London on Sunday at 2 p.m. But whether Assange can do this without being arrested is still being speculated. This will be his first public statement since March.

Assange "can remain indefinitely" in embassy

Ecuador's president Rafael Correa acknowledged Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will remain in his country’s embassy in London as long as Britain refuses to give him safe passage out of the country.


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