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Ecuador's Correa: No Decision Yet on Assange Asylum Request
Earlier reporting by UK newspaper said Ecuador had made decision to grant asylum
UPDATE: (9:25 pm EST) Responding to a news story earlier in the day by The Guardian newspaper, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador strongly denied a report that claimed a final decision had been made to grant Wikileaks founder Julian Assange political asylum in his country.
"The story is false ... When we make the decision we'll explain very clearly the reasons, the legal framework, the analysis that we made to grant or not asylum to Mr Julian Assange," Correa told a press conference.
Speaking to Reuters, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino criticized the report by The Guardian.
"Anonymous sources are useless. Only the president and myself will make the decision ... there's nothing yet," he said.
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Citing officials within Ecuador's government, Ecuador's president Rafael Correa has agreed to give Julian Assange asylum, The Guardian reported Tuesday afternoon.
"Ecuador will grant asylum to Julian Assange," an official in the Ecuadorean capital Quito, who is familiar with the government discussions, told the British newspaper.
The report, which has yet to be verified by other outlets or Wikileaks itself, seems preliminary and has not yet been made official by Correa himself.
Earlier this week, Correa told state-run ECTV that a decision would come this week regarding the Wikileaks' founder's request for asylum in Ecuador. Assange sought refuge in the Latin American nation's embassy in London on June 19 and has remained there since.
The Guardian report continues:
Government sources in Quito confirmed that despite the outstanding legal issues Correa would grant Assange asylum – a move which would annoy Britain, the US and Sweden. They added that the offer was made to Assange several months ago, well before he sought refuge in the embassy, and following confidential negotiations with senior London embassy staff.
The official with knowledge of the discussions said the embassy had discussed Assange's asylum request. The British government, however, "discouraged the idea," the offical said. The Swedish government was also "not very collaborative", the official said.
The official added: "We see Assange's request as a humanitarian issue. The contact between the Ecuadorean government and WikiLeaks goes back to May 2011, when we became the first country to see the leaked US embassy cables completely declassified ... It is clear that when Julian entered the embassy there was already some sort of deal. We see in his work a parallel with our struggle for national sovereignty and the democratisation of international relations."
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