Ecuador, Britain in talks over Assange fate: Ecuadorian president

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, in this May 19, 2017 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 30 July 2018

Ecuador, Britain in talks over Assange fate: Ecuadorian president

  • Assange sought refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, which he denies
  • Swedish authorities dropped their investigations last year, but British authorities still want to arrest him for breaching bail conditions

MADRID: Ecuador is in talks with Britain over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012 when he was granted political asylum, the country’s president said in an interview published Sunday.
“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,” Ecuador President Lenin Moreno told top-selling Spanish daily newspaper El Pais.
“Mr. Assange has been in this situation for over five years and we have to find a way out for him. A way out that defends his rights, mainly his right to life, and which at the same time can give Ecuador the possibility to not have what, without a doubt, represents a problem for our country.”
Assange, 47, sought refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, which he denies.
The Australian computer programmer claims the accusations were politically motivated and could lead to his extradition to the United States to face imprisonment over WikiLeaks’s publication of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.
Swedish authorities dropped their investigations last year, but British authorities still want to arrest him for breaching bail conditions.
In March, Ecuador cut off Assange’s ability to communicate with the outside world after he broke a 2017 promise to not interfere in other countries’ affairs while in the mission.
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.
Moreno, who visited Spain and Britain last week, said the “ideal” solution would involve Assange accepting a “penalty” for having breached British bail conditions and then be “extradited to a country where he does not face any danger.”


Philippines and India agree to strengthen defense, security ties

In this handout photograph taken and released by Indian Presidential Palace on October 18, 2019, India's President Ram Nath Kovind (C-L) attends a press conference with Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (C-R) at Malacanan Palace in Manila. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2019

Philippines and India agree to strengthen defense, security ties

  • The two leaders agreed to strengthen maritime security ties

MANILA: The Philippines and India have agreed to boost defense and security cooperation following talks between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind on Friday.
Kovind is in Manila as part of a five-day official visit to the Philippines that began on Thursday.
In a joint statement, Duterte said he and Kovind have committed to building a “partnership” between the Philippines and India “that enables us to face challenges to our hard-won progress, jointly and effectively.”
As Duterte welcomed India’s role in his country’s defense capability upgrade program, against the backdrop of growing security cooperation, he said they have agreed “to continue working together to fight terrorism and violent extremism and other transboundary threats.”
Kovind said “both of our countries have been victims of terrorism,” and the two leaders “committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms
and manifestations.”
He added: “As two vibrant democracies that believe in a rules-based international order, respect for international law and sovereign equality of nations, the Philippines and India are natural partners in the pursuit of their respective national development and security objectives.”
The two leaders also agreed to strengthen maritime security ties.
“As countries strategically located in the Pacific and Indian oceans, we affirmed our shared interest to protect our maritime commons and advance the rule of law in our maritime domains,” Duterte said.

BACKGROUND

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said ‘both of our countries have been victims of terrorism,’ and the two leaders ‘committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.’

He added that they also discussed “the most pressing concerns of our region and beyond, such as maritime security and economic integration.”
Following their meeting, they witnessed the signing of maritime, tourism, science, technology and cultural agreements.
Among them was a memorandum of understanding between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Indian Navy to enhance maritime security by sharing information on nonmilitary and nongovernment shipping vessels between the two countries.
“With the signing of bilateral agreements, we have likewise widened the path toward enhancement of our engagement in maritime security, science and technology, tourism and cultural cooperation,” Duterte said.
“We hope to look back on this day as a milestone in our relations, the day when we set out to turn promise into reality, and potential into concrete benefits that bring the greatest positive impact on the lives of our peoples.”