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Ecuador and Sweden in 'constructive talks' – just don't mention Assange™ by name
Beetlejuice, Voldemort and now Julian
How to solve a problem like Julian Assange™ was the veiled topic of debate on Monday when officials from Ecuador and Sweden met for the first time.
According to AFP, it's hoped that a deal on judicial help in criminal cases can be struck between the two countries by the end of this year.
Swedish justice ministry official Cecilia Riddselius dismissed suggestions that the discussions focussed directly on WikiLeaker-in-Chief Assange, however.
"We hope to have an agreement soon ... we hope to have it well before Christmas," she reportedly added.
Riddselius said that it was "a general agreement" that would allow Ecuador and Sweden to open up a better dialogue with one another.
But there's no avoiding the fact that Assange is by far the most high-profile example of where the two countries have so far failed to cooperate.
On Monday, Sweden's State Secretary for Minister of Home Affairs tweeted:
Constructive negotiations started today with my State Secretary colleague from Ecuador on an agreement on mutual legal assistance— Ann Linde (@AnnLinde) August 31, 2015
The 44-year-old Australian has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, London for more than three years now, having sought asylum from Swedish authorities who had wanted to quiz Assange over allegations of rape, coercion and sexual molestation.
Since then, questions about the two lesser accusations against Assange have been dropped due to a law of limitations in Sweden, while the most serious allegation of rape remains outstanding.
Assange has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has claimed that a return to Sweden to be quizzed by cops could lead to him being extradited to the US, where he fears being prosecuted for leaking thousands of American and British diplomatic cables. ®