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Julian Assange cancels announcement from Ecuadorian Embassy balcony following legal advice

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has cancelled his planned appearance from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London due to legal advice.

Scores of Mr Assange’s supporters and members of the media arrived at the building in London’s Kensington for the lunchtime speech, which would have marked his fifth year inside the embassy.

It emerged the planned announcement would not go ahead however, following an agreement for an “imminent meeting” with British authorities.

A statement released on behalf of the WikiLeaks founder said his legal team remained optimistic for the outcome of the meeting.

“Mr Assange’s legal team remain optimistic that a satisfactory outcome can be found which respects the British legal process and restores Mr Assange’s freedom and dignity,” it said.

Speaking to the Press Association, Melinda Taylor, a member of Mr Assange’s legal team, said: “We have been given confirmation that there will be a meeting with the British authorities.

“We hope that will be soon. We don’t want to prejudice that meeting because we need this impasse to be resolved… There is no legal reason to keep Julian here.”

Assange: A timeline of the investigation

Sweden dropped its seven-year sexual assault investigation into Mr Assange in May, after the country’s authorities declared they “couldn’t progress further” with the case.   

Mr Assange was accused of raping one woman and molesting a second woman during a visit to Sweden in 2010, which he denies.

In 2012 he claimed political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy while on bail over fears the Swedish investigation would lead to his extradition to the US. 

The Metropolitan police confirmed that Mr Assange will still be arrested if he leaves the embassy despite the European arrest warrant for him being dropped, as he is still wanted under a separate warrant issued by Westminster Magistrate’s Court for skipping bail five years ago. 

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