Share This Page

At 2-year mark, negotiations over Assange at impasse

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:03 p.m.

LONDON — The gathering at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London has the feel of something that may become an annual fixture.

For the second time in as many years, journalists were invited on Thursday to the embassy to mark the anniversary of WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange's stay there — a bid to escape extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted over allegations of sexual misconduct, and to the United States, where an investigation into WikiLeaks' dissemination of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents remains live.

Supporters — including one with a figure of Assange on a crucifix — chanted slogans outside the embassy. Inside, Assange said he has no intention of going to Sweden because he has no guarantee he wouldn't subsequently be sent to the United States.

Dressed in a suit and sneakers and appearing relaxed, he traded pleasantries with Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino as reporters crowded around to listen in on the banter.

“I can see that your beard is longer now,” Patino joked via videolink from Ecuador, referring to Assange's wispy white stubble. Assange in turn paid tribute to Ecuador's “robust resistance” to pressure from outside powers — which he said is why “I have a liberty to work today.”

Assange had been under a form of supervised release in the United Kingdom, but shortly after losing his battle in Britain's highest court, he jumped bail and applied for asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy on June 19, 2012.

British police on guard outside the embassy have orders to arrest him should he ever step out.

That doesn't seem likely.

Patino told journalists that negotiations with Britain over Assange's fate were at an impasse and that there would be no attempt to force him back to Sweden.

“We will protect Julian Assange for as long as necessary,” he said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.