Ecuador President Lenin Moreno has said in a television interview that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is an “inherited problem.”
President Moreno has also said that Assange had created “more than a nuisance” for his government.
Assange was granted political asylum by Moreno’s predecessor, Rafael Correa. The Moreno administration may have said that it will maintain Assange’s status, it has, nevertheless, sought ways for him to leave the embassy without encountering the risk of extradition to the U.S., where he is wanted for the publication of classified information by WikiLeaks.
Assange was granted an Ecuadorean citizenship last month.
The WikiLeaks founder has been living inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London since June 2012 where he sought political asylum. Assange is previously wanted on assault claims in Sweden. The charges have recently been dropped but the fears for his extradition to the U.S. remain.
The UK for its part has refused to recognize Assange as a diplomatic agent, which would have provided him with immunity. Earlier this year, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa asked the UK to recognize Assange as a diplomatic agent so that he could be provided with diplomatic immunity. It was rejected by UK authorities as they favor Assange moving out of the embassy and facing “justice.”
Moreno has expressed his government’s disappointment with such a decision by the UK. He said: “This would have been a good result, unfortunately, things did not turn out as the foreign ministry planned and so the problem still exists.”
To find a solution to the “Assange problem”, Moreno said his country would seek help from “important people” to solve the issue.