He has been granted asylum by Ecuador but as Julian Assange’s supporters celebrated outside the country’s embassy in London, Britain is still determined to extradite the Wikileaks founder.
Yet it insists there is no threat to storm the embassy where the Australian has been holed up for weeks.
“We are not making any threats,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told a news conference.
“I think people have seen the note handed over by our diplomats in Ecuador. There is nothing threatening about it, since it particularly stresses that we are committed to working with them amicably to resolve this matter, that we are prepared to continue to engage with diplomatic discussions, this is all part of the note. But of course it also makes clear the legal position in this country…that we cannot give safe passage to somebody in this situation.”
Assange is wanted for questioning by Sweden over rape and sexual assault claims. His lawyer there, Per Samuelsson, thinks the asylum decision could actually end the stand-off.
“That means that an arrest warrant from Sweden can no longer be affected by Great Britain and in its turn it means that the Swedish prosecutor, in my opinion, must change her attitude and immediately go to London to interrogate Julian Assange, at the embassy of Ecuador,” said Samuelsson in Stockholm.
Assange fears he could ultimately be sent to the US over his website leaking secret cables. Wikileaks says he will give a live statement in front of the embassy on Sunday.