US denies Assange witch-hunt claims

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 10:24

Washington: The Obama administration on Monday accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of making "wild assertions" against the US to deflect attention from sex allegations he faces in Sweden.

"He (Assange) is making all kinds of wild assertions about us when in fact his issue with the government of the United Kingdom has to do with whether he`s going to face justice in Sweden for something that has nothing to do with WikiLeaks; it has to do with charges of sexual misconduct," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

"So he is clearly trying to deflect attention away from the real issue, which is whether he`s going to face justice in Sweden, which is the immediate issue. So that case has nothing to do with us. It`s a matter between the UK, Sweden, and now Ecuador has inserted itself," she said.

Assange, 41, who is now living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and has been given political asylum by Ecuador, in a public appearance over the weekend alleged that the US is engaged in witch-hunting against him.

Nuland insisted that the issue of political asylum to Assange by Ecuador is not an appropriate issue for the Organisation of American States (OAS) to be taking up.

"I don`t think we`ve been trying to negotiate this with him bilaterally because there is really nothing to say," she said in response to a question.

Assange, she said, does not face any persecution. The US is also not having any bilateral consultations with Ecuador on this issue.

"But we have said at the OAS, where Ecuador`s trying to gin up trouble, that we don`t think that`s an appropriate forum," she noted.

"We`ve said consistently this is a matter for Ecuador and the UK to talk to each other about. That`s what the UK government is also saying, and we have said regularly at the OAS that we don`t see any roles for the OAS in this," she added.

"We have very important business that we do in the OAS that has to do with the strength and health and democracy in the region. And this is frankly a sideshow," Nuland said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 10:24

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