Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long addresses a press conference in Quito, capital of Ecuador, on May 19, 2017. Britain should allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to go out of Ecuador's embassy in London to take up asylum in the South American country, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said on Friday. (Xinhua/Str)
QUITO, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Britain should allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to go out of Ecuador's embassy in London to take up asylum in the South American country, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said on Friday.
"The United Kingdom must now grant Mr. Julian Assange safe passage," Long said via Twitter, adding he hoped that would happen "promptly."
Long's statement came after Sweden announced it was no longer investigating Assange for alleged sexual misconduct, which he has denied.
However, at a press conference later, Long voiced concern that the legal troubles for Assange may not be over.
"Recent declarations by high-level U.S. officials ... reflect the executive branch's intention to once again take up criminal action against the WikiLeaks organization and Julian Assange," said Long.
As long as that risk remains, Ecuador will continue to offer Assange asylum, he said.
Assange, whose website has released thousands of confidential U.S. government documents, has been trapped at the embassy since going there in 2012 to seek asylum.
Assange was never able to travel to Ecuador, with U.S. ally Britain threatening to arrest him if he set foot outside the embassy.
"The European arrest warrant against Mr. Assange is no longer valid. We hope the United Kingdom grants him safe passage promptly," Long posted to Twitter.