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Ecuadorian government has serious concerns over lack of progress on Assange inquiry

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly five years
By Alan Jones, Press Association Industrial Correspondent

The government of Ecuador has voiced concerns about the "serious lack of progress" by the Swedish authorities in dealing with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

A letter has been sent to the Swedish government saying there has been a "serious failure" by the country's prosecutor, including a "lack of initiative" to complete inquiries.

Mr Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost five years and has been granted political asylum.

He was questioned six months ago in the presence of Swedish officials over a sex allegation, which he has always denied.

Mr Assange faces extradition to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the embassy.

The letter raises developments in the United States since the election of Donald Trump as president, including a speech by CIA director Mike Pompeo describing WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service".

Recent public declarations such as this constitute an "obvious risk" for Mr Assange, said the letter.

The Ecuadorian government reiterated that Mr Assange was under international protection inside the embassy. The letter expresses "great concern" that six months after being questioned, the Swedish prosecutor has not issued any declaration on the procedural situation.

It repeated Ecuador's request for guarantees of non-extradition to any third country.

The letter, from Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Ministry, urges the Swedish authorities to resolve Mr Assange's situation as quickly as possible.

The Ecuadorian government declined to comment.

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