UK-Ecuador talks over Assange’s future break down

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London, Feb 24 (IANS) Talks between the UK and Ecuador over the future of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the latter’s London embassy have broken down, according to Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa.

On Friday, Espinosa suggested British officials had been unwilling to negotiate over Assange’s potential release, reports the Guardian.

Earlier this month, a judge upheld an arrest warrant issued when Assange skipped bail as he fought extradition to Sweden in 2012.

The 46-year-old has been at the embassy ever since because he fears extradition to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves.

Espinosa said of the failed talks: “To mediate you need two parties, Ecuador is willing, but not necessarily the other party.”

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Ecuador said it would continue to protect Assange’s rights, however there was a risk to his physical and psychological wellbeing after spending nearly six years in the building as a “refugee”, the Guardian reported.

In November 2017, Espinosa said Assange had been granted Ecuadorian citizenship.

The Foreign Minister said Ecuador was trying to make Assange a member of its diplomatic team, which would grant him additional rights under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations — including special legal immunity and safe passage.

–IANS

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