LONDON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced Monday that after spending two years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London he will "soon" leave the diplomatic safe harbor.
He made the comments during a joint press conference with Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. Assange did not elaborate on the timing.
It has been suggested that Assange may need hospital treatment and that any move could be to address suspected health problems, although he refused to be drawn on that specific point, saying only that when he does leave it will "probably not" be for the reasons reported on.
He said that his health has suffered as a result of his confinement. "It's an environment in which any healthy person would find themselves soon enough with certain difficulties they would have to manage," Assange said. He said the embassy "has no outside areas, no sunlight."
Assange, 43, fled to the embassy in 2012 fearing extradition to the U.S. via Sweden, where authorities want to question him over allegations related to sexual assault.
Ecuador has granted him refugee status and says it remains committed to his protection, but British police have so far refused to let him leave the embassy and it is thought that he would be arrested if he tried to do so.
In 2010, WikiLeaks published a tranche of leaked military and diplomatic cables and Assange has been the subject of an investigation by U.S. authorities.