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Sweden looks to interview Assange

Press AssociationPress Association 20/06/2016 Alan Jones

Ecuador has received a formal request by the Swedish authorities to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside its London embassy in a possible breakthrough to the long running saga, it has been revealed.

Foreign Minister Dr Guillaume Long said Ecuador was considering the request and will be responding as quickly as possible.

Mr Assange, who has been living inside the embassy for just over four years, is wanted for questioning in Sweden about a sex allegation, which he has always denied.

He has offered to be interviewed inside the embassy, saying that he believes if he goes to Sweden he will be extradited to the United States to be quizzed over the activities of WikiLeaks.

Dr Long said the request could be an "important breakthrough".

He held a 45-minute meeting with Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire in London to discuss the case, as well as general relations between the UK and Ecuador.

Mr Assange's lawyers are demanding that he be allowed to leave the embassy without fear of being arrested after a recent ruling by the UN working group on arbitrary detention that his confinement in the embassy amounted to arbitrary detention by Sweden and Britain.

The British government disagreed with the decision, which it said was not binding.

Dr Long raised the UN case at Monday's meeting, but said he was "very disappointed" with Mr Swire's reaction.

Dr Long said he asked about what would happen if Sweden drops its investigation, and about assurance that Mr Assange would not be extradited to a third country.

"I was very disappointed that Mr Swire would not offer any kind of assurance, or guarantee on extradition. He was noncommittal about what the UK would do."

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