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Ecuador president confirms Assange asylum

August 20, 2014, 12:42 UTC+3 MEXICO
Assange said that he “will be leaving the embassy soon”, after media reported he was suffering from a potentially life-threatening heart defect, a chronic lung condition and high blood pressure
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Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa

©  EPA/LEONARDO MUNOZ

MEXICO, August 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa on Wednesday confirmed his country’s decision to grant political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past two years.

“This could be resolved tomorrow if the United Kingdom gave him the safe-conduct,” Correa was quoted as saying on Tuesday by Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency, referring to the pass Assange would need to leave the embassy without being arrested to face extradition.

Assange told a press conference on Monday that he “will be leaving the embassy soon”, after media reported he was suffering from a potentially life-threatening heart defect, a chronic lung condition and high blood pressure.

The 43-year-old Australian fled to the embassy in June 2012 after a British court ruled to extradite him to Sweden over alleged sex crimes.

He said he considered Sweden's accusations a pretext to eventually sending him to the United States, which is seeking to get hold of Assange for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said during the press conference in London it was time to free Julian Assange and respect his rights.

“This situation must come to an end. Two years is simply too long,” Patino said, adding that Assange would be offered continuing “protection”.

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