Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Friday he is frustrated that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange remains in a British prison fighting extradition to the United States. Albanese also said a historic free trade agreement with Britian will come into force within weeks.
Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in London Friday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declared “enough is enough” over the continued imprisonment of Julian Assange. He said the issue could be resolved before U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Australia later this month for the 2023 Quad Leaders’ Summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Japanese leader Kishida Fumio.
Speaking in London, where he is for the coronation of British King Charles III, Albanese said he is frustrated a diplomatic solution to Assange’s case had not been reached.
The Australian-born journalist and publisher is wanted by United States authorities over military records and diplomatic cables leaked in 2010 and 2011, which the U.S. says broke the law and endangered lives.
Assange is fighting extradition from Britain and is being held in a high security prison in London. He co-founded WikiLeaks, a website that publishes sensitive and classified information provided by anonymous sources.
Assange is wanted by the United States on 18 counts, including an allegation of espionage. His lawyers have said he faces up to 175 years in jail. However, U.S. authorities have said the sentence is more likely to be between four and six years.
Assange’s wife, Stella, has previously insisted that her husband was innocent and had “committed no crime.”
The U.S. Embassy in Canberra did not return a call asking for a comment on Albanese’ remarks
Albanese also said Friday that an Australia-United Kingdom free trade agreement would come into force by the end of this month, after years of negotiations.
He said the agreement would benefit business and individuals.
“What it will mean, put simply, is more access to the market here for our goods and services,” Albanese said. “So, for beef, for sheep products, for our seafood. But it will also have changes to the labor market – increased periods in which Australians can work here and vice versa.”
A former British colony, Australia has strong cultural and historic ties with the United Kingdom.
Australia is an international trading nation and has a long list of free trade agreements dating back to January 1983 and an agreement with New Zealand. It also has accords with China, its biggest trading partner, and the United States, its most important military ally.
Australia, the United States and Britain have signed the AUKUS security pact that will eventually deliver nuclear-powered submarines to the Australian navy.
However, in Beijing a foreign ministry spokesperson said the trilateral accord undermines peace and stability.your ad here