President Obama spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and promised that America will lead on all of the most pressing issues. He addressed Covid, climate change, peace and security as well as human rights and dignity. “We will not go it alone,” he said in his address. Obama said that “our citizens continue to petition us, to engage with their representatives” and has urged the international community to do the same.
The President was obviously referring to the grassroots movement that is pushing for direct US-UK negotiations in order for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be extradited to Sweden in connection with alleged sexual assaults there. It’s been a while since we have heard Obama’s voice on this matter, so his words were quite surprising.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living in London’s Ecuador Embassy after his request for asylum was granted earlier this year. He fears that if he is extradited to Sweden over the sexual assault allegations, he will be extradited once again to the United States of America, where he is wanted for espionage.
The White House recently told reporters that there aren’t any new developments on whether Obama will meet his campaign promise to have Assange “keel over”. So far, they are sticking to their official line which says that extradition is a matter for the Department of Justice and Sweden.
Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has said that his country still wants to find a solution that will allow Assange to be extradited to Sweden. “We want this issue over the table by November, or December at least,” he told W Radio Colombia on Monday. He added that today they are trying to “reach an agreement with the United Kingdom for this to be resolved.”
Patino also said that Ecuador is “asking Sweden not to extradite Assange without first providing guarantees that he won’t face the death penalty in the US”. Earlier this year, Patino had already announced that they would consider offering Assange asylum in their own country if negotiations with Sweden and the UK fail.
The US has been monitoring Assange’s internet traffic at the Ecuadorian Embassy and is said to have prepared an indictment against him. When he was first accused of rape, Assange denied that any sex had taken place and claimed that the accusations were a smear campaign.