Ecuador’s president calls Julian Assange an “inherited problem” and a source of annoyance to the South American state amid struggles to find a way out of a situation, which has seen the WikiLeaks founder confined to Quito’s embassy in London for over five years.
Lenín Moreno told an n interview with television networks on Sunday that Assange has created “more than a nuisance” for his government, which granted him citizenship earlier this month in a futile effort to provide him with diplomatic immunity and prevent his arrest by British officials.
Assange, the Australian founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy since June 2012. He sought asylum in the Ecuadorian mission after Swedish prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant against him over allegations of rape and sexual assault filed by two women in 2010.
“We hope to have a positive result on the issue,” he said in an interview with television networks.
Moreno added that his government continues to seek mediation involving “important people” as a third party to help work out a settlement with Britain and resolve the “unsustainable” situation.
Assange has denied the accusations, saying the claims were politically-motivated and that the coercive measures were meant to silence him. He also fears extradition to the US, where he is wanted for leaking classified data on his website.
His publication of thousands of classified diplomatic and military documents marked one of the largest information leaks in US history.
Ecuador had previously said that no solution can be achieved without the cooperation of the international community and of the United Kingdom, which has shown interest in seeking a way out.