Julian_AssangeLondon:¬†¬†WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said he will “soon” leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has taken refuge over the past two years to avoid extradition to Sweden.

“I am leaving the embassy soon,” said Assange in a joint news conference with Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino here.

The 43-year-old admitted the difficulties of living in a small room, without being able to go outside because he would face arrest, could affect his health.

The Australian journalist dismissed that his departure was related to his heart and lung problems.

Assange, who is wanted in Sweden for questioning over alleged sexual assaults on two women, was granted asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in August 2012.

Assange regretted that there had been no advances in the Swedish investigation and repeated several times no charges had been filed against him, in Sweden or Britain, while he denied having assaulted the two women.

However, his spokesman did not give much credit to the departure of Assange from the embassy.

“The world is not coming to an end,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, Assange’s spokesman, told reporters, adding that “the plan, as always, is to leave as soon as the British government decides to honour its obligations in relation to international agreements”.

For his part, Patino said Ecuador would maintain Assange’s status as a political refugee and would continue its dialogue with Britain and Sweden to find a solution.

“The time has come to free Assange and for his rights to be respected,” he said.

Britain Monday reiterated its willingness to find a diplomatic solution to a “difficult and costly” situation, the foreign ministry spokesman said.

But despite the protection of Ecuador, Britain refuses to give the journalist a safe-conduct that would allow him to travel to Ecuador.

Assange feared that if he faced the Swedish justice, Stockholm would extradite him to the US, where he is wanted for the publication on Wikileaks in 2010 of diplomatic correspondence denouncing US abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan.

–IANS/EFE