British police removed guards from outside the Ecuadorian embassy where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has taken refuge. Officials stated that the operation was no longer “proportionate” following a three-year long stakeout.
ABC News reports that Metropolitan Police are still making attempts to arrest Assange. The Wikileaks founder entered the embassy in June 2012, while facing extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges.
Due to no sign of an immediate resolution, the police force will discontinue the constant police presence at the Ecuadorian embassy.
While Ecuador has granted Assange asylum, he will face arrest if he were to leave the embassy. No police were stationed outside the embassy, as of Monday morning.
Simon McDonald, Britain’s head of diplomatic service summoned the Ecuadorian ambassador to the Foreign Office, to express frustration with the lack of development in resolving the ongoing standoff.
The standoff has been costly, leading to controversy. The operation has cost 11.1 million pounds ($17.6 million) through April of this year.
Police say that Assange is subject to arrest for avoiding bail and hiding out in the embassy, while being wanted for questioning for sexual assault allegations in Sweden. If Assange were to leave the embassy, a number of operatives would be deployed to arrest him.
Cases of alleged sexual assault were formally dropped by Sweden in August, but the country wishes to question him about rape accusations made after his visit to the country in 2010.
Assange denies all allegations of sexual assault, and believes his extradition is a step to get him to the United States over the secrets revealed by Wikileaks.
A spokesperson for Wikileaks stated that the standoff could have been resolved a long time ago, if it was guaranteed that Julian Assange would not be extradited to the United States.
Swedish officials have made attempts to have talks with Ecuador about questioning Assange at the embassy, but have had no progress.