Ecuadorian President Will Not Discuss Assange Case During UK Trip

© REUTERS / Peter NichollspeWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017 - Sputnik International
MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno will not discuss the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012, during his visit to the United Kingdom and Spain, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador informs that neither the Head of State of Ecuador nor any of the members of his delegation will address the issue of Mr. Assange's asylum during his [Moreno's] visit to the United Kingdom and Spain," the ministry said in a statement.

Moreno’s trip is "exclusively" devoted to his participation in the Global Disabilities Summit in London as well as the promotion of Ecuador’s ties with London and Madrid, the ministry noted.

READ MORE: Assange Could Become First Journalist Put on Trial Since Colonial Days – Author

Quito also denied media reports that the country struck a deal with London to hand the whistleblower over to the UK authorities.

"The State of Ecuador will only address and encourage understandings regarding Mr. Assange’s asylum, within the framework of international law, with his attorneys and with the British Government. At the moment, given the complexity of the issue, there is no short or long-term solution in sight," the statement read.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures as he speaks on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy, in London, Friday May 19, 2017. - Sputnik International
WATCH Supporters of WikiLeaks Founder Assange Gather Near Ecuadorian Embassy
Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after he was accused of sexual offenses by Swedish authorities. While the charges have since been dropped, he still fears extradition to the United States, where he is wanted for leaking damning Iraq War logs. In June, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said that Assange's asylum could not last forever.

According to media reports, the WikiLeaks' founder caused a rift in relations between Ecuador and Spain. Specifically, Spain became angered by Assange's tweets, which criticized Madrid for imposing direct rule over Catalonia after not recognizing the region's referendum. Madrid reportedly reached out to Quito over the issue, demanding that it take measures to silence the whistleblower.

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