Ecuador removes official over close Assange relationship

FILE- In this Friday May 19, 2017 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno said on Tuesday, March 2, 2019, that he wants to reach an agreement for Assange to leave the Embassy in London as soon as possible, as long as his life is not in danger.

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — The government of Ecuador has removed an official from its embassy in London who is accused of having a close rapport with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told Democracia radio Monday the civil servant "worked in a very close way" with Assange. He did not provide the official's name or go into any detail, other than to say that embassy workers must respond first to the Ecuadorian state.

The removal comes as tensions between Ecuador and Assange continue to mount. Ecuador recently accused WikiLeaks of helping spread leaked personal documents belonging to President Lenin Moreno.

British police stationed officers outside Ecuador's embassy last week after tweets from WikiLeaks claiming Assange could be kicked out of the building where he has lived since 2012 within "hours to days."

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