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Wikileaks' Julian Assange Speaks At Ecudorian Embassy, Calls For New Talks

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called for talks to break the deadlock over his campaign to avoid extradition to Sweden, at a rare public appearance on a balcony at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to mark the six-month anniversary of his confinement.

And he promised that in 2013, WikiLeaks would release millions more documents, relevant to "every country in the world."

Assange has since been granted political asylum by the Ecuador government but has remained inside the embassy.

The Australian will be arrested if he steps outside as he has broken his bail conditions.

He thanked his supporters, who stood in the street outside, some carrying lighted candles.

He said: "Six months ago I entered this building. It has become my home, my office and my refuge. Thanks to the principled stance of the Ecuadorian government and the support of its people, I am safe in this embassy and safe to speak from this embassy."

He said he had been sustained by the solidarity of his supporters and people around the world supporting WikiLeaks and freedom of the press.

"While my freedom is limited, I am still able to work and communicate, unlike the 232 journalists who are in jail tonight."

Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations of sexual assault, which he denies.


SimonNRicketts
It's Christmas and a white-haired man who's rarely seen - and says he knows whether you've been good or bad - is back. It's Julian Assange.

David
Simple fact is there is no good legal reason for Assange not to go to Sweden. Indeed, he would be safer from US extradition if he did go.

Little Tin Godess.
Julian Assange, you're a hero.

He fears being sent to the United States to be questioned over his whistle-blowing website.

He said on Thursday night that the Pentagon claimed recently that the existence of WikiLeaks was an "ongoing crime".

The Australian continued: "While that remains the case and while my government will not defend the journalism and publishing of WikiLeaks, I must remain here.

julian assange

Julian Assange in his Christmas address at the embassy

"However, the door is open, and the door has always been open, for anyone who wishes to use standard procedures to speak to me or guarantee my safe passage."

Some of Assange's friends and supporters listened to his speech from inside the embassy, which had a Christmas tree in the reception area and many cards dotted around.

Ambassador Ana Alban was also inside the embassy.

Assange said WikiLeaks was under a continuing criminal investigation, but 2012 had been a "huge year" for the organisation.

He said he was often asked what gave him hope. "The answer is right here," he said to loud cheers from his supporters, who chanted, in Spanish: "Julian, the people are with you."

Assange said WikiLeaks had more than a million documents being prepared to be released, affecting every country in the world, prompting more cheers from the crowds outside.

"Next year will be equally busy. Wikileaks already has well over a million documents to release. Documents that affect every country in the world. Every country in this world.

"And in Australia an unelected Senator will be replaced by one that is elected.

"In 2013, we will continue to stand up to bullies.

"The power of people standing up and resisting together terrifies corrupt, undemocratic popwer. So much so that ordinary people here in the West are now the enemy of governments, to be watched, controlled and impoverished."

assange

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sing carols as they gather to hear him giving a statement

After making his speech, he walked quickly back inside the embassy.

A statement issued by the Ecuadorian ambassador said: "At a time of year when people come closer together, Ecuador reaffirms the solidarity that our country gave six months ago to a person who was being persecuted for thinking and expressing themsewlves freely.

"Now is a moment for reflection and togetherness. On behalf of my country, I reiterate our support for Julian Assange.

"Julian has become a guest in this house that we all have learned to appreciate.

"We understand the situation is extremely difficult. It is not a desirable situation for any human being. However, each of the people who work on this diplomatic mission offer our care and support, which is what every citizen of Ecuador and Latin America would do in conditions where a human is affected.

"Often it is necessary, as we have done in our beloved country, to stand up and face those enemies of democracy that far from seeking unity and peace among the citizens of the world, instead seek to ruin socialist peoples and dominate on behalf of small groups of people.

"I reiterate the message of peace, thought and reflection our government wants to offer all those who, like Julian, fight every day to preserve freedoms in a world that has entered a period of change for the good of the people."

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