Ecuador: "Not sustainable" for Assange to keep living in embassy

JULIAN ASSANGE

Ecuador threatens to remove WikiLeaks' Julian Assange from its London embassy after infuriating country's president

Former leftist President Rafael Correa, who had said Assange was a "journalist", granted him asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

It is a stand-off that should never have begun.

The Ecuadorian government has reportedly sought a plan to end Julian Assange's world's longest couch surfing stint record attempt at its London embassy. It has cost British taxpayers more than £11 million in wages and overtime for extra police assigned to the embassy, and it has outlasted the tenures of two ambassadors.

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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.

Swedish prosecutors earlier this year unexpectedly dropped their investigation into the allegations, which included a claim of rape.

The alleged news of the passport comes just a day after Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa told reporters in Quito that Ecuador was looking for a way out of the current situation. He is still expected to face arrest the moment he steps out of the embassy for breaching the terms of his bail.

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However, cooperation from the United Kingdom may not be forthcoming.

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 Sydney Morning Herald, Espinosa said officials were looking for a third country or a prominent worldwide figure to help extricate Assange from the embassy and move him somewhere else.

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