Ecuador signs deal with Sweden for Assange questioning

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Ecuador and Sweden have signed a pact that would allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be questioned at Ecuador's embassy in London where he has been for more than three years, the Quito government said.

The legal agreement was signed in the Ecuadorean capital after half a year of negotiations.

"It is, without doubt, an instrument that strengthens bilateral relations and will facilitate, for example, the fulfillment of judicial matters such as the questioning of Mr. Assange," the foreign ministry said in a weekend statement.

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Ecuador signs deal with Sweden for Assange questioning
A supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds a banner outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he marks three years since Assange claimed asylum in the embassy on June 19, 2015. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange clocks up three years inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London today, after claiming that Swedish prosecutors cancelled a landmark meeting in his case earlier this week. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds banners outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he marks three years since Assange claimed asylum in the embassy on June 19, 2015. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange clocks up three years inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London today, after claiming that Swedish prosecutors cancelled a landmark meeting in his case earlier this week. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Files
Julian Assange, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks speaks via video link during a press conference on the occasion of the ten year anniversary celebration of WikiLeaks in Berlin, Germany, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears on screen via video link during his participation as a guest panelist in an International Seminar on the 60th anniversary of the college of Journalists of Chile in Santiago, Chile, July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
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Assange, 44, took refuge in the embassy building in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault and rape against two women in 2010. The Australian denies the accusations.

Assange says he fears Sweden will extradite him to the United States where he could be put on trial over WikiLeaks' publication of classified military and diplomatic documents five years ago, one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.

Britain has accused Ecuador of preventing the course of justice by allowing Assange to remain in its embassy in the upmarket central London area of Knightsbridge.

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