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Assange told to keep out of Catalonia crisis

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been told to keep out of Catalonia’s separatist crisis.

Mr Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, has angered Spain’s government by using his Twitter account to post messages of support for Catalan independence and accuse Madrid of “repression”.

Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis has said there were signs that Mr Assange was attempting to “interfere and manipulate”, following him meeting with a prominent Catalan pro-independence figure.

Now Ecuador’s President has stepped into the row.

Lenin Moreno told the Spanish newspaper El Pais: “We do not want to intervene under any circumstances with respect to Catalonia. We hope the problem is resolved as soon as possible for the benefit of all Spaniards.

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno talks to the media during a visit to Ecuador's state-run Esmeraldas refinery complex in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, August 15, 2017, REUTERS/Daniel Tapia

Image: Lenin Moreno said Mr Assange ‘does not have the right’ to intervene in the crisis

“We have reminded Mr Assange that he has no reason to interfere in Ecuadorian politics because his status does not allow it. Nor in that of nations that are our friends.

“He does not have the right to do so and he has committed himself to this.”

Ecuador’s foreign ministry revealed last month that it had told Mr Assange to avoid making statements “that could affect Ecuador’s international relations” with Spain and other countries.

Spain is in the middle of its worst political crisis for decades after Catalonia pushed ahead with an independence referendum that Madrid has declared illegal.

The region declared independence in the wake of the disputed vote, prompting Spain’s government to revoke Catalonia’s autonomy, dissolve its parliament and call fresh elections.

Dozens of people had gathered outside the Ecuadorian embassy to hear Assange speak

Image: Mr Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012

These will be held on Thursday, with the results anticipated to have a significant impact on where the secession crisis goes from here.

Mr Moreno’s comments to the newspaper came at the start of a three-day official visit to Spain, which began on Sunday with a meeting with Ecuadorian immigrants in Madrid.

He is due to hold talks with King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday.

Mr Assange has been in the country’s London embassy for the past five years after seeking asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden to face a rape allegation, which he denies.

Source: Sky News World
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