Ecuador, UK look to end Assange embassy stay

President Lenin Moreno has confirmed Ecuador and the UK are in talks about Julian Assange.

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Source: AAP

Ecuador's president, signalling his government's desire to end the long sojourn of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in its London embassy, says he has never supported Assange's leaking activities.

President Lenin Moreno has confirmed a July 15 report in London's Sunday Times that Ecuador and Britain are in talks to try to end Assange's stay at the embassy where he successfully sought asylum in 2012.

Moreno said any eviction of Assange from the embassy had to be carried out correctly and through dialogue but he displayed no sympathy for Assange's political agenda as a leaker of confidential documents.

"I have never been in favour of Mr Assange's activity," Moreno said at an event in Madrid on Friday.

I have never been in favour of Mr Assange's activity. President Lenin Moreno
Australian-born Assange sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning about allegations of sex crimes, which he has always denied.

Those allegations have since been dropped but Assange would be arrested by British police, should he leave the embassy, for breaching bail conditions.

Assange believes that would pave the way for extradition to the US for the publication of a huge cache of US diplomatic and military secrets on the WikiLeaks website.

Moreno made his comments in Madrid, where he had met King Felipe and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez after a three-day visit to Britain.

Lenin Moreno.
Lenin Moreno. Source: AAP

When asked if he had spoken to the British government about Assange on his recent visit, Moreno said the two countries were in permanent contact about the matter.

"The only person I have never spoken to is Mr Assange," he said.

A British government spokesman said discussions over the future of Julian Assange were ongoing but the matter was not discussed during Moreno's visit this week.

Moreno was in London to attend a global disabilities summit.

The diplomatic impasse over Assange's stay in Ecuador's embassy was coming to a head, a source close to the Wikileaks founder said on Monday.

Ecuadorean and British government sources have played down suggestions of any imminent movement to break the stalemate.

2 min read
Published 27 July 2018 at 10:34pm