QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador’s president on Thursday ramped up the pressure on Julian Assange to leave his country’s embassy in London, saying Britain had provided sufficient guarantees that he would not be extradited to face the death penalty abroad.
Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy since 2012. He was granted asylum there while facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden that he said were a guise to extradite him to the United States.
President Lenín Moreno’s comments in a radio interview Thursday suggested that months of quiet diplomacy between the Ecuador and Britain to resolve Mr. Assange’s situation is bearing fruit — even as questions are swirling about his legal fate in the United States.
“The road is clear for Mr. Assange to take the decision to leave,” Mr. Moreno said, citing written assurances he said he had received from Britain.
The Ecuadorean president did not say he would force Mr. Assange out, but did say the hacker’s legal team was considering its next steps.
As Mr. Assange’s stay at the embassy dragged on, his relations with his hosts soured to the point that earlier this year, Mr. Moreno cut off his internet access.
Mr. Assange in turn sued, saying his rights as an Ecuadorean — he was born in Australia but granted citizenship last year as part of an apparent attempt to name him a diplomat and ferry him to Russia — were being violated.
The mounting tensions have drawn Mr. Moreno closer to the position of Britain, which for years has said it is barred by law from extraditing suspects to any jurisdiction where they would face capital punishment. Nothing prevents it from extraditing him to the United States if prosecutors there pledge not to seek the death penalty.
Mr. Assange has long maintained the he faces charges under seal in the United States for revealing secret government information on his website. Last month, American prosecutors mistakenly cited criminal charges against him in an unrelated case.