QUITO (Reuters) - Britain is interested in finding a solution to the standoff that has led to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for five years, the foreign minister of the South American country said on Thursday.
In May, Sweden dropped an investigation into rape allegations that led Assange, 45, to seek asylum in the embassy in 2012, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the building.
“The United Kingdom wants a way out, but evidently that is in the hands of the UK justice system, they have their procedures, their ways,” the minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, told reporters. “This opening has been there, and we are working on it.”
A British court issued an arrest warrant for Assange when he failed to surrender to the court on June 29, 2012, and the Metropolitan Police Service is compelled to execute that warrant, the London police said in May.
Assange, who denies the rape allegations, fears being handed over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.
Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Sandra Maler