Ecuador seeks mediator to resolve 'untenable' Assange standoff

Ecuador football shirt

Assange has been holed up for more than five years in the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he was granted asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations. However, in an unexpected move previous year, Swedish prosecutors dropped all charges against him. It has denied Mr Assange's Swedish accusers justice and abused the diplomatic immunity that prevents British police arresting him inside the embassy.

WikiLeaks' publications have included hundreds of thousands of U.S. army war logs and state department diplomatic cables and more recently emails from the Democratic National Committee during the run-up to the 2016 USA presidential election.

Ecuador is exploring options to resolve his status and is very much interested in mediation by a third party, Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa told reporters Tuesday in Quito.

Assange was awarded diplomatic asylum in mid-2012 by President Rafael Correa on the grounds that the Wikileaks leader's life was in danger should he be extradited to the U.S.to face charges of leaking classified information.

"No solution will be achieved without global cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out", she told foreign correspondents in Quito.

A United Nations panel concluded in 2016 that Assange was under arbitrary detention. "The UK should not permit itself to be intimidated by the Trump administration's public threats to "take down" Mr Assange".

According to The Guardian, the United Kingdom government has already cast doubt on the mediation offer, saying "the government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice".

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