Quito | Ecuador top diplomat on Friday said that Washington can’t decide the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange following the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence.
Speaking to media, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said that “Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and of course Mr. Assange as a person who is currently staying, on asylum, at our embassy, will decide the next steps.” “It does not enter, therefore, on an agenda with the United States,” he added.
As per sources from US Vice President’s Office, Mike Pence raised the issue of Julian Assange, an Australian anti-secrecy activist -holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012 during his meeting with Ecuador President Lenin Moreno. Pence and Moreno “agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward,” claimed an official traveling with the US Vice President.
Earlier Jullian Assange had sought refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, which he denies. He claims the accusations were politically motivated and could lead to his extradition to the United States to face imprisonment over WikiLeaks’s publication of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.
Meanwhile, in May 2018 Ecuador withdrew additional security measures at its London embassy following an investigation that found that the previous administration of Rafael Correa had spent $5 million on a spy operation to protect Assange.