Ecuador is holding high level discussions with Britain over the fate of Julian Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 after being granted political asylum, according to comments made by President Lenin Moreno to Spain's El Pais daily newspaper.
"The issue of Mr. Assange is being treated with the British government and I understand that we have already established contact with Mr. Assange's lawyers so we can find a way out."
Not true, says Assange's Attorney Carlos Poveda in a Sunday LaJournada article retweeted by the official WikiLeaks Twitter account.
The defense of Julian Assange is concerned about the contradictions of the government of Ecuador, which claims to be seeking a solution to the asylum of the founder of Wikileaks through dialogue, with all parties, but refuses to meet with their lawyers, said Carlos Poveda, one of the activist's lawyers. -LaJournada (translated)
"We have followed very closely the statements of President Lenin Moreno both in the United Kingdom and Spain," said Poveda. "And I must warn that even the legal team that presides (the former judge of the Spanish Supreme Court) Baltasar Garzón requested a hearing to meet in London or Madrid, but they told him that Moreno's schedule was full during the whole tour."
In other words - Moreno is talking out of both sides of his mouth while feigning a new found concern for Assange's fate (after referring to the WikiLeaks founder as a "hacker", "an inherited problem" and a "stone in the shoe").
We know how (Moreno) addresses the issue , said Poveda, who said that the president's statements leave us confused.
In relation to the recent declarations of the Ecuadorian agent chief executive, of which his government is in "permanent" communication with London and with the legal team of Assange, Poveda maintained that that does not happen.
According to Poveda, Assange's legal team is still awaiting a response from two letters sent from Madrid weeks ago requesting that Ecuador "explain the situation."
Assange has been holed up in the embassy since 2012. Though Sweden long ago dropped its request that Assange be extradicted, he is still struggling with legal issues in the UK: Earlier this year, a UK court declined to reverse his arrest warrant for violating his bail terms when he initially took refuge at the embassy. Wikileaks has released thousands of diplomatic cables belonging to the US, and US officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have said Assange's arrest is a "priority."
In March, Ecuador cut Assange off from the outside world - blocking his internet and phone communications over violating a promise not to interfere with other countries' affairs.
Assange particularly drew the ire of Ecuador by angering the Spanish government with his support for separatist leaders in Spain's Catalonia region who sought to secede last year. -France24
Moreno told El Pais that the "ideal" solution would be for Assange to endure some sort of UK penalty for violating his parole, before he is extradited to a country "where there is no danger."
Two weeks ago, reports surfaced in the UK media that high level talks were happening between UK and Ecuadorian officials to try and remove Assange from the embassy.
Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan is said to be spearheading the diplomatic effort. Sources close to Assange said he himself was not aware of the talks - supporting his attorney's claim that they've been kept in the dark, while Assange believes that America has been putting "significant pressure" on Ecuador, including threatening to block an IMF loan, if he continues to stay at the embassy.
Furthermore, as we pointed out weeks ago, the United States imported a record amount of crude from Ecuador (a massive unprecedented surge all of a sudden), which begs the question...was there a payoff?