Ecuador alters refuge offer to WikiLeaks founder

Foreign minister changes official tune of unconditional residency to embattled whistle-blower Julian Assange

Published November 30, 2010 7:20PM (EST)

Ecuador appears to be modifying its offer of unconditional residency to the embattled founder of the online whistle-blower WikiLeaks.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in a TV interview Tuesday that the possibility "will have to be studied from the legal and diplomatic perspective."

His deputy Kintto Lucas said Monday that Ecuador was open to giving Julian Assange residence "without any kind of trouble and without any kind of conditions."

The 39-year-old Australian has incensed Washington and many other governments by releasing hundreds of sensitive diplomatic cables.

He had sought residency in Sweden. But a court there has ordered him detained for questioning on sexual assault allegations. Assange denies the allegations.

By Associated Press

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